Chicago's Firing Range Ban Unconstitutional: 7th Cir.

By Stephanie Rabiner, Esq. on July 08, 2011 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

The 7th Circuit handed down another win for proponents of the 2nd Amendment on Thursday, granting plaintiffs a preliminary injunction that stops the enforcement of Chicago's citywide firing range ban.

Admitting the relative newness of 2nd Amendment jurisprudence, the court determined that, at trial, the city is unlikely to sufficiently justify the burdensome impact of the ban, as the right to bear arms has also historically included a right to maintain firearm proficiency.

After the Supreme Court struck down Chicago's gun ban in 2010, city leaders passed the Responsible Gun Owners Ordinance.

The ordinance prohibits all firing ranges in the city, yet at the same time requires all gun owners to receive at least one hour of range training prior to being issued a permit.

Plaintiffs sued, arguing the firing range ban places a severe burden on their right to bear arms.

In the Supreme Court's 2008 decision in Heller, it was made clear that the 2nd Amendment has historically included the right to arm oneself for self-defense.

Also looking to history, the 7th Circuit concluded that this right implies "a corresponding right to acquire and maintain proficiency in [firearm] use," as owning a gun would be useless without proper training.

Consequently, in order to overcome the constitutional issues, the city must show that the firing range ban serves a compelling government interest, and that it is narrowly tailored to fit these goals.

Providing no evidence to support its belief that firing ranges cause death, injury, and theft, the court determined that Chicago did not meet this standard.

It's unclear whether or not this case is moot, as Bloomberg reports that the City Council responded swiftly, lifting the ban in favor of highly-restricted zoning ordinance.

But, the truth is that those ordinances may be just as unconstitutionally burdensome as the firing range ban.

Related Resources:

Copied to clipboard