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The 7th Circuit Continues to Please

By now most of you have probably seen the news about the ruling in the 7th Circuit tossing Chicago’s ban on gun transfers and sales within city limits. I think the result in the 7th Circuit speaks in favor of taking this issue to the federal courts. I get pessimistic and gloomy sometimes about our prospects of real protections out of the federal courts, but the 7th circuit rulings stand against my pessimism. They’ve been willing to take the right more seriously than other federal circuits. The Court here reasoned that Chicago could not claim to be discouraging criminal acquisition when it likewise discouraged ordinary acquisition:

But these transaction costs are also borne by law-abiding residents of these neighborhoods, who are equally parochial and may suffer many of the same dangers by crossing into gang-infested territory. So whatever burdens the City hopes to impose on criminal users also falls squarely on law-abiding residents who want to exercise their Second Amendment right.

It’s great to see a federal court calling BS on the longstanding argument that it’s just fine to generally discourage exercise of the right because it also discourages criminals.

10 Responses to “The 7th Circuit Continues to Please”

  1. Patrick H says:

    Its a really good ruling. He takes them to task and doesn’t just take them at their word. I also like him using the phrase “chilling effect”. Joe Huffman noticed it and has some good comments on that.

  2. Meh, it means nothing for those stuck in the 2nd (NY/CT) or 9th (West Coast) circuit. The 2nd gave us Kachelsky and the 9th Silveira v. Lockyer, after all.

    The 7th Circuit has 10 judges; 3 Clinton/Obama nominees and the rest GOP. No wonder they are friendly ground!

    The 2nd Circuit and 9th Circuit as well as the critical DC circuit are stacked with Dem appointees that would see little problem with doing the intermediate scrutiny dance to justify putting gunowners onto trains. :-\

    The party that appointed a judge is no sure indicator, but it does give some indication as to how they’ll lean. “Elections have consequences,” and all, and we’ll be dealing with the consequences of the current administration for a long time. If Hillary wins in 2016 then we will have even more severe problems in the courts; a bunch of the 7th circuit appointees were from Reagan so they’ve got to be getting older, for example.

    I doubt SCOTUS will help us out here, either.

    Meanwhile, let’s check back in with Chicago in a year or three and see if the average citizen can walk into a store with a FOID, fill out a 4473, and buy a gun. I doubt it. If anything there will be a single FFL working out of police HQ a la DC, and you’ll have to jump through a bajillion hoops costing hundreds of dollars and several days off of work to buy a gun.

  3. Interesting question for those smarter on this history of the courts than me — I wonder how blacks in different parts of the country fared under different circuit courts prior to and following major SCOTUS decisions during the civil rights era?

    A cursory search shows that four Republican appointees in the fifth circuit were critical for pushing many pro-Civil Rights decisions (the Democrats being the party of Jim Crow and all), but I wonder how things fared in the other circuits.

    There might be some lessons learned there about picking and choosing which circuits to have battles in, etc. It certainly could be a factor for the gun owner looking to flee NY, CT, etc and deciding where to live next; all other things being equal, picking a state in a reliably pro-2A circuit is probably not a terrible idea if you want to ensure you’re not victimized by something like SAFE act again.

  4. RAH says:

    The 5th is no better than the 2nd . We lost Wollard at the 5th with a good district ruling. I have been very pleasantly surprised at the 7 th Circuit. Plus the NRA and other gun rights groups have been filing suits regularly against Chicago because of their reluctance to allow the 2nd amendment to enjoyed.

    I could wish the 1st in DC will be as good because DC has been really bad about gun rights. We need a gun dealer to set up in D. I know Heller has filed more lawsuits but the progress has been slow

  5. JBS says:

    You got it wrong. The decision was made by a district court judge, not the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.

    • Sebastian says:

      Yes, but the District Court is in the 7th Circuit.

      • In theory, the precedent set down by the 7th circuit is binding on district judges in that circuit.

        Moreover, most judges don’t like having lots of decisions overturned, and hence are somewhat reluctant to “poke the bear” by ruling in a manner that they know will provoke a slap from the appeals court. Thus district judges in the 2/4/9 can stomp on the 2A with impunity, whereas those in the 7th must tread carefully.

        Finally, it just shows that the Pres that appointed a judge is only one indicator, as I caveated above. Once on the bench judges are hard to predict!

    • JBS says:

      The district court judge was an Obama appointee.

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