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JUDGE UNCONVINCED OF “GENUINE AND SERIOUS RISK” TO PUBLIC
by Sharon Rondeau
(Jan. 7, 2014) — A Chicago city ordinance which prohibited the legal sale of firearms and gifting among relatives has been declared unconstitutional by an Obama-appointed federal judge.
U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois Judge Edmond E. Chang ruled that in order to uphold the Second Amendment in the Bill of Rights, Chicago citizens must be allowed access to purchasing firearms.
Legal firearms ownership was banned in Chicago until 2010 after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the prohibition was unconstitutional in McDonald v. City of Chicago. The plaintiff had claimed that the ban had exposed him and others “vulnerable to criminals.”
The state of Illinois had banned concealed-carry completely until the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals declared the law unconstitutional in December 2012.
Chang’s ruling also applies to the operation of gun stores in Chicago.
Chicago Mayor and former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel reportedly opposes Chang’s ruling, and a spokesman indicated in a statement that the city might appeal it. Chang issued a stay of his ruling until January 13 in the event that the city moves forward with an appeal.
In 2008, 510 people were murdered in Chicago, 408 of which occurred by gunfire. In 2007, total murders were reported at 445. A report on youths and gun violence completed by the University of Chicago Crime Lab quoted a Chicago mother as having stated:
We have to drive our kids everywhere. We can’t go to work full time because we worry about how are our kids gonna get to and from school? I mean how are they gonna go to the corner store? We can’t send one 15-year-old girl down to the corner store three houses down from ours because there are too many kids hanging around on the corner. There are grown men hanging on the corner. We know they’re packing. We know they’re selling. . . . The hardest part is that it’s an everyday struggle and it’s exhausting and it’s infuriating because when you want to build a successful future for your children. . . .
The Crime Lab study also reported that “Shootings are disproportionately concentrated in our most disadvantaged neighborhoods, a pattern that is common to all big cities in the United States.”
Gun violence in Chicago made headlines last year when eight people were killed in a single day in May and included a 15-year-old boy and an 18-year-old man. Last January, a 15-year-old honor student who had performed at Obama’s second putative inauguration was killed while spending time in a park a mile from the Obamas’ home in the Kenwood section of Chicago.
Chang stated in his opinion that he was not convinced by the city that gun sales and ownership pose a “genuine and serious risk” to the public.
The Second Amendment reads:
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.