A new lawsuit was filed today in response to Chicago’s June 28th Responsible Gun Ownership Ordinance claiming that the ban on shooting ranges in Chicago is unconstitutional. It is a necessary step in obtaining a Chicago Firearms Permit (CFP) to complete one hour of range time in addition to the four hours of classroom instruction, but as the law stands today, it is not possible to obtain this requisite training within Chicago.
The suit was filed by the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF), the Illinois State Rifle Association (ISRA), shooting range supplier Action Target Inc., Joseph Brown, Rhonda Ezell and William Hespen. Mr. Brown is a WWII veteran, Ms. Ezell a disabled burglary victim, and Mr. Hespen and retired Chicago Police detective.
“While the city has adopted new regulations that make it legal to own handguns, 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.” -Second Amendment Foundation Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb.
There are existing lawsuits related to the ban on retailing firearms in Chicago.
The SAF press release announcing the suit:
For Immediate Release: 8/16/2010
CHICAGO, IL – 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.”
Individual plaintiffs are Rhonda Ezell, a victim of three attempted burglaries who has disabilities making it difficult for her to travel outside the city; Joseph Brown, a WWII U.S. Army veteran who was among the liberators of the infamous Dachau concentration camp, and William Hespen, a retired police detective, all of whom must qualify for Chicago Firearms Permits.
Action Target, a Utah-based company, builds shooting ranges and manufactures gun range equipment and supplies. It has a long history of providing gun safety equipment and training, and has previously built law enforcement shooting ranges in Chicago. However, Action Target is prohibited from building a public target range within the city’s limits under the restrictions of the new gun ordinance.
Randy Graham, vice president of Action Target, said, “We believe that citizens have a constitutional right to use and train with firearms in a safe and controlled environment. As a leader in the firearms training industry, Action Target is committed to standing up for these rights.”
“By banning public gun ranges,” Gottlieb said, “and by banning the loan and rental of firearms at such ranges, Chicago is acting under color of law to deprive citizens of their right to keep and bear arms, and to conveniently receive the education required under the ordinance that is necessary to obtain a Chicago Firearms Permit. The city is violating both the Second and First amendments, and we are asking the court to put an end to this nonsense.”
The Second Amendment Foundation (www.saf.org) is the nation’s oldest and largest tax-exempt education, research, publishing and legal action group focusing on the Constitutional right and heritage to privately own and possess firearms. Founded in 1974, The Foundation has grown to more than 650,000 members and supporters and conducts many programs designed to better inform the public about the consequences of gun control. SAF has previously funded successful firearms-related suits against the cities of Los Angeles; New Haven, CT; and San Francisco on behalf of American gun owners, a lawsuit against the cities suing gun makers and an amicus brief and fund for the Emerson case holding the Second Amendment as an individual right.