Chicago Suburbs Repeal Handgun Bans in Wake of D.C. Supreme Court Decision

The decision made by U.S. Supreme Court justices in the case of D.C. v. Heller would have far-reaching ramifications across the United States.

The Court had not considered a Second Amendment case since 1939, making a new consideration of the modern interpretation of the law dependent on this single decision. Their 5-4 decision in favor of striking down the District of Columbia ban on handguns was historic, and provided an important insight into how cities and states will approach the issue of gun possession going into the future.

Whether cities had gun bans in place or not, municipal and state codes waited for the cue from the Supreme Court, and, as we expected, some cities decided to move immediately once the ruling was made. As the AP reports, Morton Grove, Illinois was the first city to repeal its own ban on handguns, a provision that has been enforced since 1981, when the suburb of Chicago became the first city in the United States to enact a handgun ban. Another Chicago suburb, Wilmette, followed suit.

The Morton Grove village board voted 5-1 in favor of amending the ordinance, though its ban on the sale of guns within its jurisdiction still continues. Morton Grove and Wilmette both feared the money that might be involved in lawsuits that were sure to appear in the wake of the Supreme Court decision. Rather than waste money on what would surely be a losing battle from the start, the two cities preemptively waived their regulations.

And it seems the two cities made their play just in time, as the Supreme Court decision did in fact trigger a wave of lawsuits, as many cities feared. The two most prominent cities sued were San Francisco and Chicago. Both cities have vowed to fight lawsuits over their handgun bans.

The National Rifle Association has since sued Chicago suburbs with gun bans in place, including Evanston, Oak Park and, yes, Morton Grove. Other cities in the U.S. with similar bans can expect similar action, though Chicago suburbs comprise most of the handgun bans across the country. It will be an interesting challenge to the oft-debated question of how far legal precedent should go in defining the decision of a case. In this instance, the Supreme Court’s decision could well be the rule of the day.