Guns

Second Amendment Foundation Sues Over Chicago Range Ban

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While the Second Amendment Foundation and their legal paladin Alan Gura won McDonald v. Chicago at the Supreme Court, causing Chicago to redo its restrictive gun laws, even the new ones don't pass legal muster, the SAF believes, and has filed a new lawsuit challenging aspects of Chicago's post-McDonald gun laws. From SAF's press release:

The Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) today filed a lawsuit in federal court against the City of Chicago's new gun ordinance, asserting that "by banning gun ranges open to the public…under color of law," the city is depriving citizens of their right to keep and bear arms in violation of the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Joining SAF in this lawsuit are the Illinois State Rifle Association (ISRA), Action Target, Inc., and three individual plaintiffs including a retired Chicago police detective. They are represented by attorneys Alan Gura of Virginia and David Sigale of Chicago, who teamed up with SAF and ISRA on the landmark case of McDonald v. City of Chicago, which incorporated the Second Amendment to the states, effectively striking down Chicago's 28-year-old handgun ban.

"While the city has adopted new regulations that make it legal to own handguns," said SAF Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb, "they have crafted this new ordinance to make it virtually impossible for prospective gun owners to meet all legal requirements unless they travel outside the city for mandatory training. The new ordinance prohibits public gun ranges inside the city yet the city demands that handgun owners get at least one hour of range training time.

"This is a 'Catch-22' scenario," he continued, "that seems deliberately designed to discourage Chicago residents from exercising their firearm civil rights barely two months after those rights were restored by the Supreme Court."

A forthcoming issue of Reason magazine features a cover story by me detailing the history and implications of McDonald v. Chicago. And we've already done plenty of coverage of the case as it unfolded.

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  1. I can’t think of any good reason for a general gun range ban, none. But I don’t see how it would fall under keep and bear arms as one can keep and bear arms absent any gun range (I have for years).

    1. Oh I see, the sneaky bastards require gun range time to keep and bear arms. I’m betting the requirement can be found “reasonable” (though stupid imo). The gun range ban throws in an interesting twist though. It reminds me of all those provisions which attempted to put obstacles in the way of abortions that SCOTUS has dealt with for years. Maybe they will develop some kind of similar test where they ask if an undue burden is placed on the right via the measure…

      1. How does the gun range ban pass even a rational relationship test? What legitimate state interest does it further? Moreover, it is going to be very hard for Chicago to claim on the one hand that it has a legitimate state interest in banning gun ranges. And then on the other hand claim they also have a legitimate state interest in requiring gun owners to have an hour of time on said ranges.

        The gun range ban is toast. Only Chicago would be stupid enough and arrogant enough to think they could get away with it. Sadly the bullshit training requirement probably survives.

        1. If I were the lawyer I would say it is at least rational to think gun ranges in an urban area may be dangerous (either from its intended use, which is firing of lethal weapons, or some bs ‘secondary effects’ type argument like the SCOTUS buys with nudie bars).

          The requirement of range time is easier. Just argue a person should have to demonstrate some use of such a potentially dangerous device before they can keep and bear it…It’s at least “rational” (though again, stupid imo: I’ve never been to a firing range and have owned guns for a while).

          1. Gun ranges are not dangerous to the people living around them. And the fact that gun use is dangerous doesn’t give you the right to ban them. Keep and bear arms is a constitutional right.

            And further, if gun ranges are so dangerous, why are you the State requiring people to go to them for an hour? There just isn’t any rational argument to be made for banning gun ranges.

            1. I think its at least rational to posit a potential danger from a gun range, a place where people go and empty lethal weapons John…

              I have a pretty low bar for rational though as I try to be charitable to people who reach different conclusions than I do. They may be wrong, but not nuts 🙂

              1. If you didn’t require range training, I think you might have a case. But requiring range training cuts the legs out from under the rational basis for banning the ranges. The City is clearly not interested in the safety of its citizens or it wouldn’t require them to go to these dangerous ranges. Or in the converse they really don’t thing ranges are dangerous. You can’t have it both ways. It is one or the other.

                1. They can argue the ranges are dangerous to neighbors of the range, not those going to them, and further argue that the danger is somewhat unique to a congested urban area.

                  1. Find me a case ever were a gun range has harmed a neighbor. They don’t exist. You can’t make a case they are dangerous to the neighborhood.

                    1. Do you have to find a case for it to be rational? I always assumed for something to be rational you just had to imagine it as somewhat naturally foreseeable. A place where people fire thousands of rounds could be imagined to perhaps have one of those rounds leave its premises and hit something or someone around it. It’s not crazy to think that, is it?

                    2. Not when you look at the safety requirements to build ranges. You are infringing on a right here. If there are other alternatives available which achieve the end without trampling on the right, you have to use those. The alternative is just make sure the ranges are built to standard.

                    3. “If there are other alternatives available which achieve the end without trampling on the right”

                      Is that true under rational basis review?

                    4. From wiki:
                      “The rational basis review tests whether a governmental action is a reasonable means to an end that may be legitimately pursued by the government. This test requires that the governmental action be “rationally related” to a “legitimate” government interest.[2] [3] Under this standard of review, the “legitimate interest” does not have to be the government’s actual interest. Rather, if the court can merely hypothesize a “legitimate” interest served by the challenged action, it will withstand the rational basis review.”

                      I mean, surely one can hypothesize a legitimate interest served by this…

                    5. A place where people fire thousands of rounds could be imagined to perhaps have one of those rounds leave its premises and hit something or someone around it.

                      You could avoid this possibility by banning just outdoor ranges, IMO a perfectly reasonable thing to do in a densely populated area.

                      Indoor ranges are hardened to prevent an errant round from leaving the range, and are completely sufficient for most types of handgun training.

                    6. There are two types of gun owners – those who have had a negligent discharge, and those who are going to have a negligent discharge. So the next time you’re at the range and the range officer is being a real hardass, be sure to thank him for keeping you safe!

                    7. Question: Where do Chicago’s finest practice firing? If within Chicago’s city limits that would seem to make arguments against private ranges nugatory.

                    8. They are trying to build an outdoor range here:
                      http://cbs2chicago.com/local/b…..00774.html

                    9. Do you have to find a case for it to be rational?

                      Well, yes you do. If there are a plethora of gun ranges, and no innocent bystander has ever been hurt because a bullet fired there has penetrated the walls of the establishment, then one can’t rationally say these places are dangerous.

                      The government has a rational basis for setting standards of construction for these ranges that ensure that all the bullets fired there stay within the property. They do not have a rational basis for banning them entirely.

                    10. I agree that in general gun ranges wouldn’t fall under 2nd amendment, but John has a big point. If you make range time a requirement to get a gun permit, then you are usurping their 2nd amendment right by denying them access to a range. If there is no range requirement, then the absence of one doesn’t not interfere with the right to own a gun.

                    11. Not just danger – and I know of at least one case in which a person was hit and killed by a stray bullet from a gun range – but also noise and traffic. Where to place a gun range is a legitimate zoning question – but an outright ban really has no rational basis. But the problem there is the state and local governments do not have to pass even rational basis scrutiny on legislation unless is implicates some constitutional right. The argument that the ban on gun ranges is unconstitutional hangs on the fact that they require you to have range time for your gun permit. Lacking that feature, it would be awfully hard to successfully argue the city can’t ban gun ranges.

                    12. That is my point. They could get away with one or the other; either banning gun ranges or requiring the training. But they can’t do both.

                    13. Where to place a gun range is a legitimate zoning question

                      “Legitimate zoning” is an oxymoron.

                    14. We lived right across the street from a private gun range for two years once. Because there was no sign we didn’t even know it was there until someone told us it was the best place to get shooting lessons in that area.

                      Safety and noise are legitimate issues, but they are issues for the construction of the building.

                    15. I wish I lived across the street from a gun range!

              2. ARFARFARFARFARFARFARFARFARFARFARFARFARF!!!!!

        2. It may turn on the availibility of gun ranges in the Chi metro area, which I don’t know about…

          1. But what rational reason is there to keep them out of Chicago but allow them in Naperville? It makes no sense.

            1. It’s a chicago ordinance, they couldn’t keep them out of Naperville if they wanted.

            2. They don’t have to have a rational basis. Rational basis enters the question only if the ban on gun ranges is determined to infringe on a constitutionally protected right. And that is a question only because of the requirement for range time.

              It’s going to be a tough one, I think. This is far from a slam-dunk.

          2. There’s perhaps 15 public ranges within 50 miles of Chicago…most of them 30 miles or more from the city.
            I think only one closer than 10 miles from the city…but I think Daley got it shut down as part of the O’hare expansion.

      2. When our rights are safe, your rights will be safe.

        1. Where’s the eye roll button?

          1. Sometimes our eyes roll across the floor, as our bodies are vacuumed out of the womb, piece by piece.

            1. That’s fucking brutal dude. Didn’t Slayer Write a song about that?

            2. Cool. Better than you coming into the world and screaming in grocery stores and on planes.

              1. And you were seen and not heard? Uh, ok

        2. Oh, I see that you speak for all of the unborn, how convenient.

          Did you ever think that maybe foetuses liked to be aborted? No, because you never asked, did you?

        3. By sticking your tiny hands out of your mother’s vagina, typed this you did?

          Impressive you are.

    2. “The new ordinance prohibits public gun ranges inside the city yet the city demands that handgun owners get at least one hour of range training time.”

      I think this turns it into a RKBA issue.

    3. Read the whole post. The city requires an hour of gun range training, but forbids gun ranges within the city. That, IMO, is violating the spirit of the decision.

      1. In my neighborhood the kids practice in the alleys.

      2. Of course it does.

        Now. Knowing the history of douchebaggery in Chicago, do you think that, for them, violating the spirit of constitutional law decided because of them is a bug, or a feature?

    4. But I don’t see how it would fall under keep and bear arms as one can keep and bear arms absent any gun range (I have for years).

      Well, under that logic, one can keep and bear arms under gun control laws that allow you one unloaded, disassembled handgun kept within the confines of your home for self-defense purposes only.

      If you can’t bear arms at a gun range, or any other venue the government chooses to ban, then your rights are being infringed by the government.

  2. With the combination of mandatory range time and a ban on ranges, I think they’ve got a pretty good case for Chicago imposing an unreasonable burden.

    Its also a nice case for testing the issue of what level of scrutiny should be applied.

    1. Yeah, the court pussed out on level of scrutiny twice. I’m betting lower courts are like, thanks a lot assclowns!

      1. Which was totally foreseeable, and inevitable when the court refused to even imply the restrictions on ownership that would be constitutional(according to them).

    2. At which point does SCOTUS get to declare Chicago in contempt and send U.S. Marshals to drag Daley out in chains? Can we just skip to that part?

  3. It may turn on the availibility of gun ranges in the Chi metro area, which I don’t know about…

    I doubt that will make much difference. I don’t think an unconstitutional burden in one jurisdiction can be remedied by the happenstance of whether you have to travel very far outside of that jurisdiction to exercise your rights.

    1. It might have something to do with how much of a burden it is…

      1. Could the city of Chicago ban abortion in its limits on the argument that there were abortion clinics available outside the city? I doubt it.

        1. Abortion doesn’t equal gun range (keeping and bearing would though). They could put all kinds of goofy restrictions on abortion clinics in their jurisdiction though, iirc.

          1. The better analogy would be if they required counseling before anyone obtained an abortion and then banned abortion counseling within the city limits. No way would that pass muster. And neither will this.

            1. That’s a bad analogy. You have the right protected (abortion, keep and bear) and then you have “reasonable restrictions” on the practice of the right (counseling, gun range ban).

              1. My bad, I didn’t see the second “counseling” in your post, yes that would be analogous.

                I’ve heard that in S. Dakota abortions are only available in one place, is that because of restrictions in S. Dakota cities?

                1. Maybe so. I have honestly never heard of a local abortion ban.

                  1. Well, like you say it wouldn’t be a ban on abortions, just burdensome restrictions like the analogy you gave.

                2. I’ve heard that in S. Dakota abortions are only available in one place, is that because of restrictions in S. Dakota cities?

                  Almost certainly not. Hard to believe, but most doctors don’t like performing abortions, and won’t do them.

                  1. Surprised there aren’t pro-choice doctors willing to fulfill an unmet market niche.

                    Yes, doctors tend to be slightly more conservative than average, but lots of liberal doctors out there.

                    1. Right-wing whackos like Eric Rudolph have made being an abortion provider a dangerous business. Many physicians who would do abortions don’t (or don’t advertise) because of the dangers to themselves, their employees, and their families.

                    2. Or maybe they just don’t want to spend eternity as my guest.

        2. “”Could the city of Chicago ban abortion in its limits on the argument that there were abortion clinics available outside the city? I doubt it.””

          Don’t know, but the city of New York has a greater ban then every other town in the state of NY.

  4. Alan Gura’s new name is Gun Jesus.

    1. Trying to come up with a good anagram of his name. You’ve got the “gun” part, which leaves the letters a, l, a, r and a.

      So he’s Gun Alara.

      1. Or maybe Gun Al Ara. He is a damn Mooslim, probably building a mosque somewhere it shouldn’t be!

  5. I think it is important to remember the true context of these big city gun bans.

    Here’s a Washington D.C. council member talking about why they oppose the effort to protect the 2nd Amendment rights of Washington D.C. residents.

    Council member Phil Mendelson (D-At Large) said the McCain-Tester bill could gut the District’s regulatory powers, including laws that are stricter than most states about keeping guns away from people with records of domestic violence. He also said the law shows a disregard for the realities of the District, where guns mean drive-bys, holdups and intimidation more than sport, tradition and the American way.

    Translation: “We can trust white rural folk with guns but we have to keep them out the hands of those crazy n*ggers in the cities.

    It’s all the more pathetic and disgusting because more often than not it is African-American politicians and “activist” making the racist argument that poor, urban African-Americans cannot be trusted with guns.

    Racism isn’t the only driver. Incompetent and failing big city governments that cannot police themselves put all their eggs in the gun control basket purely because it lets the local politicians blame external forces for their cities staggering murder rates. They are basically say, ” Hey, you can’t blame us for the murder rate because we don’t have any control over gun laws and its guns that cause all the problems!” They keep making this claim even though not all big cities face such high violence rates regardless of their demographic makeup.

    The racist argument that African-Americans are singularly untrustworthy is just intended to appeal to the racism that simmers in America’s big cities at rates (according to paired-twin studies) at higher than any other communities.

    We need to call these people out about their racist pandering and hold them responsible for their own incompetent governance.

    1. Shannon
      I’m not sure its racist to argue that hunting is less of a traditional force in urban areas than in rural ones.

      BTW a lot of black folks live in rural areas, and vice versa…

      1. Perhaps not. But Heller specifically states that self defense is a primary reason for the 2a’s existence.

        It cannot be said that self defense is less of a tradition in urban areas than rural ones.

        1. “It cannot be said that self defense is less of a tradition in urban areas than rural ones.”

          Surely armed self defense has less of a tradition in urban areas than rural ones in America. “Check your guns at the city limits pardner!”

          1. Oddly enough, that tradition contributes to the continuing tradition of armed robbery and murder in cities.

      2. Yes, but it is very clear from the context what they are talking about. “Out in the country” or “rural areas” never seems to encompass the deep south where most rural African-American’s live (and use guns quite responsibly.)

        We are told over and over again, often by the same people seeking to undermine 2nd Amendment rights, that “urban” is just a code phrase for African-American. So, “urban gun violence” is just a code phrase for “African-American gun violence.”

      1. I don’t click on links in posts here, but as corrupt as Chi police seem to be their collapse might be a very good thing indeed…

        1. It’s OK to click on links here; SugarFree made sure they don’t work.

        2. Well, at least it gets rid of half the city’s crime problem. No idea what they can do about the other half (without guns).

  6. Surely armed self defense has less of a tradition in urban areas than rural ones in America.

    Seeing as its not a tradition because its been outlawed, I don’t think this is a little too tautological to work as a justification for outlawing armed self-defense.

  7. Aren’t there also onerous restrictions on transporting one’s firearms from point A to point B in the revised Chicago?

    “You must acquire/ maintain proficiency by going to the range, but if we catch you driving down the street with a pistol in your car, we’ll toss you in the slammer.”

    And- Why would you own a gun and never shoot it? I’ve put literally thousands of rounds through my pistol since I got it.

    1. I agree, I own too many pistols to count. It is a lot more fun to shoot handguns than any other kind. Well, maybe mortars and cannons are more fun but they are too expensive to shoot.

      1. The M19 grenade launcher is the finest weapon ever made. I could take over China with one if I had enough ammo.

      2. Mortars are a little expensive per shot, but it’s cheap & easy to make them for black powder rounds, e.g. firework aerial shells. Cardboard tubes with thick enough walls can be found in various dimensions, they can be coated for durability, and wooden bottom plugs can easily be fashioned or purchased and attached. With black powder propellant the seals don’t have to be perfect, nor do the rounds have to be tightly obturated. A bucket of sand or kitty litter suffices to stabilize and cushion the barrel.

  8. …revised Chicago ordinance?

  9. Does the Chicago ordinance require one hour of range time per year, or some period, or is it a one time requirement? Not that it matters to this discussion, I am just curious.

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