ELB wrote:Extract from the opinion. More good stuff at the link above.
The plaintiffs here challenge the City Council’s treatment of firing ranges. The Ordinance mandates one hour of range training as a prerequisite to lawful gun ownership, see CHI. MUN. CODE § 8‐20‐120, yet at the same time prohibits all firing ranges in the city, see id. § 8‐20‐080. The plaintiffs contend that the Second Amend‐ment protects the right to maintain proficiency in firearm use—including the right to practice marksmanship at a range—and the City’s total ban on firing ranges is unconstitutional. They add that the Ordinance severely burdens the core Second Amendment right to possess firearms for self‐defense because it conditions possession on range training but simultaneously forbids range training everywhere in the city. Finally, they mount a First Amendment challenge to the Ordinance on the theory that range training is protected expression. The plaintiffs asked for a preliminary injunction, but the district court denied this request.
We reverse. The court’s decision turned on several legal errors. To be fair, the standards for evaluating Second Amendment claims are just emerging, and this type of litigation is quite new. Still, the judge’s decision reflects misunderstandings about the nature of the plaintiffs’ harm, the structure of this kind of constitutional claim, and the proper decision method for evaluating alleged infringements of Second Amendment rights. On the present record, the plaintiffs are entitled to a preliminary injunction against the firing‐range ban. The harm to their Second Amendment rights cannot be remedied by damages, their challenge has a strong likelihood of success on the merits, and the City’s claimed harm to the public interest is based entirely on speculation.
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