Case Information: NRA v. Chicago & Oak Park, Nos. 08-4241, 08-4243 & 08-4244 (7th Cir., Filed April 28, 2009) – Decision later overruled by McDonald v. Chicago, 561 U.S. 3025 (2010)
At Issue: Challenge to municipal handgun bans under the Second Amendment; question whether the Second Amendment applies to state and local governments. In NRA v. Chicago & Oak Park, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit held that the Second Amendment does not apply to state or local governments. In so doing, the Seventh Circuit affirmed the district court’s dismissal of complaints filed by the National Rifle Association and Second Amendment Foundation alleging that the Illinois municipalities’ prohibitions on the possession of handguns violated the Second Amendment. The Seventh Circuit determined that it was bound by a series of U.S. Supreme Court cases that uniformly held that the Second Amendment only applies to the federal government. The court emphasized that Supreme Court decisions may only be overruled by the Supreme Court itself.
Law Center’s Brief: Our brief, joined by several local activist organizations and national gun violence prevention groups, supports the cities of Chicago and Oak Park. The brief argues that the right to carry arms for self-defense is subordinate to the greater right of individuals to personal security. It further contends that the “most popular weapon” principle relating to handguns is guided in neither fact nor in principle.