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Standing Guard

By Wayne LaPierre, Executive Vice President

Purchase + Possession = Liberty Restored

In the face of repeated federal court decisions decisively blocking the City of Chicago’s ongoing denial of full Second Amendment protections to its beleaguered residents, Mayor Rahm Emanuel nonetheless remains determined to undermine individual liberty through subterfuge.

The latest example comes with the Emanuel administration’s response to a remarkable January 2014 U.S. District Court decision that struck down the city’s ban on firearm retailers as unconstitutional under the Second Amendment. The decision also decriminalizes and mandates protections for transfers between individuals that are lawful under state and federal statutes.

Emanuel petulantly called the decision a “straight-jacket” and reportedly turned to the rabidly anti-Second Amendment Joyce Foundation to devise schemes to gut the decision to make doing business next to impossible for federally licensed dealers within city limits. Joyce is the deep-pocket funding source for gun-confiscation groups like the Violence Policy Center.

The federal gun transfer decision, delivered by U.S. District Court Judge Edmond E. Chang, ruled that “the ban on gun sales and transfers prevents Chicagoans from fulfilling within the limits of Chicago, the most fundamental prerequisite of legal gun ownership—that of simple acquisition.”

Specifically, the stricken law had declared that “no firearm may be sold, acquired or otherwise transferred within the city, except through inheritance of the firearm.” To do so was a criminal act.

Judge Chang’s thoughtful and incisive decision left no doubt as to the intent of the nation’s Founders: “… Certain fundamental rights are protected by the Constitution, put outside government’s reach, including the right to keep and bear arms for self-defense under the Second Amendment. This right must also include the right to acquire a firearm.”

With lead attorneys supported by the NRA, the suit producing this decision was brought by the Illinois Association of Firearms Retailers and individual Chicago residents denied the ability to lawfully acquire firearms within city limits.

Among the city justifications methodically rejected by Judge Chang were that the city ban on lawful firearm transfers would “restrict criminals’ access to licensed dealers … restrict gun acquisition in the illegal market …” and “eliminate gun stores from Chicago, which are dangerous in themselves and cannot be safely regulated.”

In rejecting those claims, Judge Chang opined that “whatever burdens the City hopes to impose on criminal users also falls squarely on law-abiding residents who want to exercise their Second Amendment right.”

Judge Chang also rejected Chicago’s descriptions of federally regulated retail firearm outlets as being integral to “a chronically diseased regime that is fundamentally broken …” and that firearm retailers constitute “cache[s] just waiting to be raided” by criminals. It is obvious from his decision that Judge Chang, a former Assistant U.S. Attorney, clearly understands strict federal law with respect to federal firearms licensees (FFLs).  He didn’t buy the city’s myth about dealers being a major source for criminal commerce.

In fact, Judge Chang quoted a study cited by Chicago lawyers which concluded that FFLs “play a minor and unimportant role as direct sources of the criminal handgun supply.” Judge Chang concluded, “It is doubtful that keeping criminal users away from legitimate retail stores will choke the supply of guns to those users.”

Mayor Emanuel declined to appeal, still smarting from the drubbing delivered by the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in 2011, striking down Chicago’s ban on shooting ranges as violating the Second Amendment.

That range ban was part of a twisted regulation designed to circumvent the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark 2010 McDonald decision that deemed the city’s decades-old handgun ban unconstitutional and affirmed the Second Amendment as an individual right extending to every corner of the nation.

The same regulation banning ranges simultaneously required potential handgun owners to undergo live-fire training. No range. No training. No legal handgun ownership. Alice in Wonderland.

Predictably, Emanuel and his Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy treated the court with disdain, citing the phony claim of “public safety”— the standard excuse for unconstitutionally banning handguns from the homes of honest citizens. Judge Chang summarily dismissed that claim in ruling that “the city has not demonstrated that allowing gun sales and transfers within the city limits creates such genuine and serious risks to public safety that flatly prohibiting them is justified.”

Keep in mind that there is nothing Emanuel, McCarthy and like-minded enemies of liberty have come up with that applies to violent criminals. Chicago is still the murder capital of the nation. The Mexican Sinaloa cartel reportedly still controls 100 violent street gangs, and imports billions of dollars of heroin, cocaine and meth into the Windy City. Chicago also ranks last among all federal court jurisdictions for federal prosecution of violent armed criminal predators.

Victimize gun owners, then blame the victims. That’s the Chicago Way, and it will never change as long as city bosses are pathological in their hatred of our civil rights.

Always remember Rahm Emanuel and those of his ilk who are opposed to our fundamental civil right to keep and bear arms when you donate to NRA-ILA or the NRA Civil Rights Legal Defense Fund.

Success in restoring and bolstering Second Amendment rights through aggressive legal challenges depends on you, your friends, family and colleagues.

Victory in the courts—establishing sound case law—can be achieved only through your generosity as we fight to affirm our core rights, as protected by the Second Amendment, for personal and national defense not only in Chicago, but in every corner of this great nation.