The Illinois State Rifle Association is obviously pleased with the decision by the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals that mandates a preliminary injunction against the City of Chicago’s previous ban on shooting ranges within the city limits. As one of the organizational plaintiffs in Ezell v. Chicago, they not only got the preliminary injunction but their status as an organizational plaintff was reaffirmed by Judge Syke’s opinion.
The official response from ISRA and their in-house counsel Victor Quilici is below.
Firearm Law & Commentary
by Victor D. Quilici, ISRA Attorney
7TH CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS GRANTS PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION IN EZELL V. CITY OF CHICAGO GUN RANGE CASE
July 6, 2011
One day after the Supreme Court decided McDonald vs. City of Chicago, the City explored a legislative response to the decision and shortly thereafter the ordinance banning handguns was repealed and the City passed its now infamous “Responsible Gun Owners Ordinance.”
The new ordinance contained a sweeping array of firearm restrictions, including a ban on firing ranges within the City, although the ordinance contained a provision requiring aspiring gun owners to complete one hour of range training as a prerequisite to acquiring a Chicago Firearm Permit which is mandated for lawful gun ownership in the City. Immediately, ISRA was joined by three Chicago residents, the Second Amendment foundation, and Action Target Designs, and a lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois seeking a temporary restraining order (TRO), a preliminary injunction, and a permanent injunction against the City’s firing range ban.. As the appellate court noted, the lawsuit alleged that the range-ban “impermissibly burdens the core Second Amendment right to possess firearms in the home for self-defense because it prohibits, everywhere in the City, the means of satisfying a condition the City imposes for lawful firearm possession.”
The District Court judge denied the relief sought by the Plaintiffs, and on appeal the appellate court tribunal found that the lower court’s acceptance of the City’s “confused approach to the case” led the District Court to err in failing to recognize “ the scope of the Second Amendment right as recognized in Heller and applied to the states in McDonald, and the standard of review of laws alleged to infringe Second Amendment rights.” The appellate court also noted that the City failed to produce any empirical evidence of any kind, “and rested its entire defense of the range ban on speculation about accidents and theft.”
The appeals court concluded by noting that at this stage of the proceedings “the firing range ban is wholly out of proportion to the public interests the City claims it serves.” Thus, the court determined the plaintiffs showed irreparable harm, no adequate remedy at law, and a strong likelihood of success—all prerequisites to obtaining injunctive relief. The District Court’s decision was reversed and the case remanded (returned) to the lower court with instructions to enter a preliminary injunction consistent with its decision. A First Amendment violation alleged in the lawsuit was not addressed and considered surplusage based on the court’s findings and its decision based on the Plaintiffs’ Second Amendment claims.
Illinois State Rifle Association members and its friends should keep in mind that this is only round one of a continued fight to protect our fundamental rights to ownership and possession of firearms for self-defense, and other lawful purposes, as our United States Supreme Court clearly pronounced in its ground-breaking decisions in Heller, and McDonald. We owe a big round of applause and “thanks” to the attorneys involved— Alan Gura and David Sigale.
Victor D. Quilici