TriggerFinger


Chicago Gun Case cert petition filed


Gura's Chicago Gun Case blog has posted his petition for certiori to the Supreme Court.  The petition itself is here. Reading through it, I am again impressed with the very careful legal work of Alan Gura's team.  As you may recall, the case which became Heller v DC at the Supreme Court level started out as Parker v DC -- but the case lost most of its plaintiffs to standing issues.  The saving grace was that one of the plaintiffs had tried to register a handgun, and been denied.  The NRA's sort-of-parallel case, Seegars, failed because none of its plaintiffs had taken that step.

The Chicago gun cases are similar.  Gura has carefully lined up three plaintiffs who have actually been harmed by the ban.  All three have attempted to register handguns and been denied.  Two of them have also been denied the ability to register handguns they already possessed (Chicago requires that any firearm must be registered with the city before taking possession).  Two of the plaintiffs own long arms, and are thus subject to the annual re-registration requirements; one of those plaintiffs had allowed his registration to lapse, which prohibits him from re-registering the firearm. 

Additionally, one of the plaintiffs purchased a rifle through the Federal Civilian Marksmenship Program, which shipped the rifle directly to his home in Chicago.  This prevents registration of that rifle in Chicago permanently, because of the requirement to register before taking possession.  It also sets up an interesting tension between the government legally sending a rifle to a place where it is impossible to legally own it.  That same resident tried to register the rifle, was denied, and appealed the denial administratively, and was denied again.

If that's not sufficient to ensure standing, nothing is.

Notably, the petition says:
The day after Petitioners filed their complaint, the National Rifle Association (?NRA?) and various individuals brought a separate challenge to the Chicago handgun ban, albeit not to the other provisions challenged by Petitioners. NRA also led a lawsuit challenging a similar handgun ban implemented by the Village of Oak Park, Illinois. It does not appear that the challenged provisions had been enforced against the NRA plaintiffs. This case, and the two NRA cases, were related in the District Court.
Normally, I'm all in favor of what the NRA does on the political side.  They are a powerful force in politics.  However, Gura's legal work seems much more thorough and carefully thought out, at least with regard to picking plaintiffs.  I don't know why that is -- other than it's obviously very difficult to convince people to put themselves in legal jeopardy or draw official attention to challenge laws with significant criminal penalties.

I will be reading through the petition and posting more comments as I find things worth commenting on.  For now, I will leave you with the reminder that we won't necessarily see this case before the Supreme Court; I think it's the best of the three cases we know of (Nordyke in the 9th circuit and Maloney in the 2nd circuit) but the Supreme Court could pick all of them, any of them, or none at all. 

This entry was published Wed Jun 10 08:33:33 CDT 2009 by TriggerFinger and last updated 2009-06-10 08:33:33.0. [Tweet]

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