Years ago, the City of Chicago ran legitimate firearm dealers and shooting ranges out of town. For a long time, the Second Amendment hung on by a thread in the City of Chicago. The question the Illinois State Rifle Association struggled with was how to change the situation. The City of Chicago is the “800 pound gorilla in the room” as far as the State of Illinois goes. This made changes through the Illinois State Legislature impossible. Then came a lawsuit known as Heller v. Washington D.C., which struck down the impossible restrictions that city had put on private gun ownership. Washington D.C. is a federal district, so if the restrictions were unconstitutional there, why shouldn't they be unconstitutional elsewhere? Then came the McDonald et al v. City of Chicago. This is a case supported by the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) and the Illinois State Rifle Association (ISRA). The McDonald Case was truly an ISRA case. The late Victor Quilici, ISRA's attorney, and I, along with others, vetted over 52 people before getting the right plaintiffs. The McDonald case forever changed how the Second Amendment is applied in the United States because it applied the findings in Heller v. Washington D. C. throughout the United States and its territories.
The State of Illinois still did not allow open carry or concealed carry. Then came two cases suing the State of Illinois: Shepard v. Madigan and Moore v. Madigan (when the State of Illinois is sued, the Attorney General is the defendant - in these cases, Lisa Madigan). Both cases were combined and heard at the same time. Ruling is listed under Moore v. Madigan because it was the first case listed. Once again the ISRA was in the thick of the fight. The Seventh Circuit ruled that the State of Illinois had to allow concealed carry.
In the midst of these lawsuits there was a move to reveal the names, address and other information about FOID card holders and Illinois Concealed Carry Licensees (ICCL). The ISRA passed a law prohibiting the exposure of these names and other information secure from public view so those people would not be in jeopardy. The ISRA also sought and obtained a restraining order which prevented the State Police from releasing those names in the ISRA v. Illinois State Police.
Still, the law-abiding citizens of Chicago had to leave their city to exercise their Second Amendment rights. Three Chicago residents (Rhonda Ezell, Joseph I. Brown and William Hespen) bravely stepped forward and sued the City of Chicago. The ISRA and SAF once again stepped to the plate to support this case. It is our feeling your Second Amendment rights are not governed by your zip code. The Ezell case eventually had two parts. The first part was the outright prohibition on firearm stores and shooting venues in Chicago, which we won. Then the City of Chicago responded by passing so-called M zoning, FOID card restrictions and range ownership law which were so convoluted and complicated that they were impossible to comply with. We went back to court again to overturn Chicago’s nutty restrictions. On March 17, 2017, Judge Virginia M. Kendall issued a second judgement reflecting a mandate from the Seventh Circuit. The City of Chicago’s M zoning, FOID card restrictions and range ownership laws are now enjoined. Firearm dealers and shooting ranges are coming to Chicago. We fought the law and we won!
I am often asked “why should I join the ISRA?” The above litany of ISRA accomplishments are part of the reason. None of these victories were easy. I was informed by one of Chicago’s attorneys that the Second Amendment did not apply to the City of Chicago. This is a reflection of the City of Chicago’s attitude toward firearm ownership. In the last 11 years, the ISRA has wiped out tens of thousands anti-gun ordinances, laws and restrictions throughout, not only Illinois, but the United States and its territories. If you are a gun owner in Illinois you should be an ISRA member. There is much more to do. In fact, we are reloading for the next one now.
Thanks for being a member.
Please remember: when you click on a particular bill, it will take you directly to the State of Illinois General Assembly website (ilga.gov). The ISRA has no control over the ilga.gov website.
Sunday, March 26, 2017
Defensive Carbine Class – Instructor John Newman
Friday, March 31, Saturday, April 1, Sunday, April 2, 2017
DTI Inc. Basic Defensive Handgun Course – Instructor John S. Farnam
Wednesday, April 5, 2017