SAF attorney outlines case against Chicago at SHOT Show
by Dave Workman
Noting that the Supreme Court challenge to Chicago’s handgun ban is important to the firearms rights of all citizens, attorney Alan Gura told a Jan. 20 audience at the Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade (SHOT) Show in Las Vegas that striking down the ban will bring with it the incorporation of the Second Amendment to the states, through the 14th Amendment.
The attorney for the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF), Illinois State Rifle Association (ISRA) and four individual plaintiffs was joined at the podium by Lawrence Keane, senior vice president and general counsel for the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), who told the audience that a victory in the Chicago case will signal the “beginning of an era of litigation.”
Gura, working with Chicago attorney David G. Sigale, filed the lawsuit in June 2008, about an hour after the Supreme Court handed down its landmark ruling in the case of District of Columbia v. Dick Anthony Heller. Gura argued the Heller case before the court in March 2008, resulting in the high court’s affirmation that the Second Amendment protects an individual civil right to keep and bear arms, and that the right extends far beyond service in a militia.
A day later, the National Rifle Association (NRA) filed its own case against Chicago, and neighboring Oak Park. At one point during the appeals process, the cases had been combined, but when appeals were filed to the Supreme Court, only the SAF challenge was granted review.
SAF Executive Vice President Alan Gottlieb told the press conference that his organization has retained Gura to lead its legal challenges in several cases. In addition to the Chicago lawsuit, SAF is currently engaged in a lawsuit against Attorney General Eric Holder over provisions in the 1968 Gun Control Act that make it impossible for Americans living abroad to purchase guns when they return home to visit. In another casein cooperation with the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, Washington Arms Collectors and NRASAF is challenging a handgun ban in Seattle, WA, city parks.
Gura noted that the Chicago case would never have advanced “without the support” of SAF and he encouraged gun owners to contribute to the foundation. He also suggested that people take someone new to the gun range this year and introduce them to shooting sports.
Fighting the case is important on another level, according to NSSF’s Keane. He said that if laws are allowed to increasingly restrict the right to bear arms, eventually that right will become illusory. NSSF has filed an amicus brief in the case, as have 38 state attorneys general.
While the Heller ruling was a major victory, Gura said it essentially reaffirmed the Second Amendment as a limitation on Congress and the federal government. Incorporating the amendment to limit state and local governments is the next step, and the Chicago lawsuit provides that mechanism.
Developments in the case, which will be argued Mar. 2 before the high court, are available at chicagoguncase.com.
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