Chicago, Oak Park Handgun Bans Called Unconstitutional

Published February 6, 2009

The Heartland Institute and Independence Institute have urged the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago, in a brief filed Thursday, to hold that handgun bans in Chicago and Oak Park are unconstitutional.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled last year in the Heller case that a similar ordinance banning handgun ownership in the District of Columbia violated the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. But the question of whether the Second Amendment applies to states and their municipal subdivisions, such as Chicago and Oak Park, was not before the Court at that time, so the Chicago/Oak Park cases would set the precedent.

In December, a federal judge dismissed the Chicago/Oak Park cases on a legal technicality. The plaintiffs disagree with that decision, so the Chicago/Oak Park cases are now on appeal before the Seventh Circuit. Many observers expect the cases will eventually reach the U.S. Supreme Court.

The Independence Institute and Heartland Institute filed their amici brief on behalf of themselves, the International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association, the Law Enforcement Alliance of America, and Professors Emeritus David J. Bordua of the University of Illinois and William R. Tonso of the University of Evansville. The brief examines social science evidence about firearms and shows that allowing law-abiding citizens to have handguns increases public safety.