A federal judge struck down part of the Chicago firearm ordinance this week. U.S. District Judge Samuel Der-Yeghiayan said the ordinance, which bans weapons permits for those convicted of “unlawful use of a weapon,” is vague and unconstitutional. Now the city can appeal the ruling or change the ordinance.
The ruling was a result of a lawsuit filed by a Chicago resident who was barred from obtaining a firearm’s permit two years ago. Shawn Gowder was denied on the basis of a misdemeanor conviction for possessing a gun on a public street, a charge he faced in 1995.
The lawsuit is only one of five pending against the city’s gun ordinance right now. The ordinance was passed in 2010, “just days after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the city’s 28-year ban on handguns,” according to the Chicago Tribune.
The ordinance is a big one, that seeks to eliminate a number of people who can possess a firearm within the city. It basically tries to make up for the ban by severely restricting who has access to a gun.
“There is something incongruent about a nonviolent person, who is not a felon but who is convicted of a misdemeanor offense of simple possession of a firearm, being forever barred from exercising his constitutional right to defend himself in his own home in Chicago against felons or violent criminals,” Der-Yeghiayan wrote.
“The same Constitution that protects people’s right to bear arms prohibits this type of indiscriminate and arbitrary governmental regulation,” he continued. “It is the opinion of this court that any attempt to dilute or restrict a core constitutional right with justifications that do not have a basis in history and tradition is inherently suspect.”
The NRA supported Gowder’s suit and are hailing the ruling as a victory. Any law that restricts the 2nd Amendment rights of nearly anyone is typically criticized by the NRA, so their support of this suit is no surprise.
Gun laws in the state of Illinois are already fairly strict. But the city of Chicago, in an effort to reduce gun violence, has come down even harder than the state. When you are charged with a weapons offense in Cook County Courts, you can expect for your case to be taken very seriously.
Most firearm offenses are classified as felonies. Even those labeled as misdemeanors, however, carry serious penalties and a criminal record to boot.
If you are charged with a weapons offense, contact our offices today to discuss the details and to see how we might be able to help.