Ezell v. City of Chicago, No. 14-3312 (7th Cir. 2017)Annotate this Case
In 2010 the Seventh Circuit invalidated a Chicago ordinance prohibiting possession of handguns. The city then established a regime that required one hour of range training as a prerequisite to obtaining a permit to possess a handgun, but banned shooting ranges throughout the city. In 2011 the Seventh Circuit held that the ban was incompatible with the Second Amendment. The city replaced it with regulations governing shooting ranges. The district judge invalidated a restriction allowing gun ranges only as special uses in manufacturing districts, but upheld a restriction prohibiting gun ranges within 100 feet of another range or within 500 feet of a residential district, school, place of worship, and multiple other uses, and a provision barring anyone under age 18 from entering a shooting range. The Seventh Circuit invalidated all three restrictions, noting that the manufacturing-district classification and the distancing rule together render only 2.2% of the city’s total acreage even theoretically available. No shooting range yet exists, which severely limits Chicagoans’ Second Amendment right to maintain proficiency in firearm use. The court rejected the city’s “speculative claims of harm to public health and safety” as inadequate to survive the heightened scrutiny that applies to burdens on Second Amendment rights. Nor did the city adequately justify the “overbroad” age restriction; its own witness agreed that youth firearm instruction is prudent and can be conducted in a safe manner.