On Wednesday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit found that Chicago had once again violated the Second Amendment, this time with its regulations for gun ranges.
The process is basically the same every time.
First, Chicago enacts some uniquely stupid gun control regime. And when we say “uniquely,” we mean that nobody else would even try it, not even gun-hating officials in other crime-ridden cities.
Next, a federal court says, in effect: “Hey, Chicago, remember when you single-handedly ensured the incorporation of the Second Amendment against all states and localities with your handgun ban? The right still applies. You can’t just suppress it for any or no reason at all.”
Chicago then loudly insists that against its better judgment it has changed its laws to comply with the court ruling, when it fact everyone knows it really just shuffled the rules around to make whatever it formerly banned outright technically legal but practically impossible.
This provokes further litigation, during which the city will change this or that aspect of its regulations as the case bounces up and down between the trial and appellate courts.
Needless to say, all this happens on the public’s dime, as if Chicago – with a staggering 762 murders last year — has no better way to spend money than by enacting and futilely defending useless gun control for which the city cannot produce any evidence of efficacy.
This week’s opinion in Ezell v. Chicago recounted how the Seventh Circuit had previously held that the city could not ban ranges, provoking the above described scenario.
Chicago’s response to the prior appellate ruling, according to Wednesday’s opinion, was to enact “an elaborate scheme of regulations governing shooting ranges.” While those rules were in litigation, the city amended them multiple times. Finally, the trial court ruled on the measures – upholding some and invalidating others – and the litigants appealed the worst of the surviving rules to the appellate court.
These rules included banning anyone under age 18 from so much as entering a range and zoning requirements that eliminated almost 98% of the city as possible locations, with the remaining choices of “questionable” commercial viability. No range, as the city intended, had managed to open for business.