Some Cities Choose to Fight for Handgun Ban despite Supreme Court Decision-including DC

Though some cities are giving in quickly and quietly to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to declare Washington, D.C.’s handgun ban unconstitutional, others have decided to face the verdict and lawsuits by gun rights advocates in order to keep what they view as essential, effective instruments in the fight against crime.

The Chicago, Illinois suburbs of Morton Grove, Oak Park and Wilmette have all voted to repeal their own handgun bans in order to avoid the costs of legal battles in order to maintain them (when the outcome of the lawsuits seemed apparent in light of the Supreme Court decision).

However, instead of seeing the decision as the final word on the matter, some officials of cities with stringent gun regulations saw the decision as merely the first round in an ongoing battle over Second Amendment rights to bear arms. The effectiveness of gun bans in reducing crime in certain areas, they argue, trumps the literal interpretation of the Second Amendment offered by the Supreme Court.

Chicago and San Francisco have vowed to fight any legal challenges to their gun bans.

As the city corporation counsel for Chicago argued, Chicago has on its side the validation of three Supreme Court decisions that vested states and municipalities with the power to determine gun regulations in their jurisdictions.

As she sees it, the D.C. v. Heller case that resulted in the D.C. gun ban repeal would not affect Chicago, because D.C. is governed by federal regulations because it is a federal jurisdiction, without the power of state sovereignty that locales in another state such as Illinois enjoy.

In fact, the District of Columbia has also moved to push back against the ruling. Instead of challenging the ruling issued by the highest court in the U.S., they effectively sealed up the breach by writing emergency gun regulations.

While allowing individuals to purchase handguns in the city, they implement strict limitations on possession, including that the handgun can be kept in a home only if used for self-defense and with fewer than 12 rounds of ammunition. Handguns must also be kept unloaded and disassembled, or equipped with trigger locks.

Fittingly, Dick Anthony Heller, the police officer who filed the initial lawsuit that made its way to the Supreme Court, has filed another lawsuit claiming that the restrictions enacted by the new regulations are excessive.

It is likely, experts say, that some or all of these restrictions will be struck down by a lower court in light of the previous Supreme Court decision.