A federal judge stripped away a key element of Chicago’s gun ordinance, ruling that it is unconstitutional to prohibit licensed gun stores from operating in the city, the Chicago Tribune reports. U.S. District Judge Edmond Chang said the city failed to convince him that banning the sale of guns by licensed dealers was necessary to reduce gun violence. His ruling would make it legal for individuals to transfer ownership of a firearm as a gift or through a private sale as long as the recipient was at least 18 and had a firearm owner’s identification card.
Chicago, the last city to allow residents to have handguns in their homes, once had one of the nation’s strongest handgun crackdowns, making it a primary target of the National Rifle Association. Overturning the ban on retail gun stores and private gun sales was the last major hurdle gun rights groups faced in their hard-fought battle to dismantle Chicago’s tough firearm prohibitions. Gun shops won’t likely be showing up in Chicago any time soon, because Chang delayed his ruling from taking effect to allow the city time to appeal. A city spokesman said, “We need stronger gun safety laws, not increased access to firearms within the city.” Todd Vandermyde, Illinois lobbyist for the NRA, said Chang rejected all of the city’s arguments.