Chicago Seeks Gun-Law Fix In Response to Court Ruling


Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is expected to introduce a revised ordinance Wednesday barring anyone with a misdemeanor conviction for a violent crime within five years from obtaining a city gun permit, reports the Chicago Sun-Times. The proposal reacts to a federal judge's ruling last week striking down part of the city's 2010 firearm ordinance. A section of the ordinance that barred anyone convicted of “unlawful use of a weapon that is a firearm” was unconstitutional, U.S. District Judge Samuel Der-Yeghiayan found. Der-Yeghiayan ruled in favor of a Chicago man who sued the city after he was denied a permit because of a misdemeanor unlawful use of a weapon conviction. Der-Yeghiayan said Shawn Gowder's right to bear arms under the Second Amendment was violated when the city denied him a gun permit. Gowder was convicted of unlawful use of a weapon in 1995.

At the time, the charge was a felony but was downgraded to a misdemeanor after a 1999 Illinois Supreme Court decision. “There is something incongruent about a nonviolent person, who is not a felon but 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.” Under the revised gun ordinance, violent felonies would permanently bar anyone from receiving a city gun permit.

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