Chicago’s City Council today approved a new ordinance on the possession of handguns that was proposed by Mayor Richard Daley just days after the Supreme Court ruled in McDonald v Chicago that an all-out ban on guns was unconstitutional. The measure was approved 45-0.
The new ordinance is described by city council members with pride as the strictest gun ordinance in the nation.
“As long as I’m mayor, we will never give up or give in to gun violence that continues to threaten every part of our nation, including Chicago,” said Daley in a press conference Thursday.
The new Responsible Gun Ownership Ordinance limits the purchase of guns to one per month, requires gun owners to take training classes, bans gun shops within city limits, and does not allow gun owners to step outside their homes with a firearm, including on their driveway or in their garage.
Moreover, only handguns approved by the Chicago Police Supt. Jody Weis will be deemed “permissible” and safe enough for purchase. And that is just the beginning. Those wishing to exercise their 2nd Amendment rights will have to go to at least two different places to get licensed and pay fees.
Essentially, while Chicagoans will now be able to purchase some kind of handgun legally, they won’t be able to take it anywhere. They will have to travel outside of Chicago to buy a gun and even then their purchasing possibilities are severely limited.
The new ordinance is already expected to undergo a slew of legal challenges. But city officials do not seem worried. In his press conference, Daley said the new ordinance does indeed respect the 2nd Amendment and the rights of the people under the Constitution.
Others say not so fast. Josh Blackman, a constitutional and legal scholar who has published several articles on the McDonald case told The Daily Caller that while the ordinances are actually “pretty moderate,” a few of the provisions are questionable.
When it comes to being able to carry a firearm beyond the home, Blackman says any challenge to that likely won’t hold up in court. Similarly, the restriction of one firearm a month, according to Blackman, is fairly common.
The fees, however, are another thing.
“The fees for this can get to be quite high,” said Blackman. “Then it’s more like a tax, which becomes a tax on a constitutional right. That’s egregious.”
Blackman also called the ban on gun shops extreme. “A flat-out ban is constitutionally suspect,” he said.
But what happened in Chicago with this new ordinance is similar to what happened in Washington, DC after the Heller decision in 2008, explained Blackman.
“They [city officials] read the opinion and figure out ‘how much can we do without crossing the line?’. We’ll have to see how it works in practice, but without a doubt, a number of challenges will be filed,” Blackman said.
For now though, the ordinance stands. Chicagoans will be able to, at the very least, defend themselves in their own homes, if not much else.