Judge Gives Chicago 6 Months to OK Gun Sales Law

The city of Chicago, which has fought for decades to keep guns out of the hands of its residents, now must craft an ordinance within 180 days that will allow gun stores to open there, a federal judge ruled Tuesday.

U.S. District Judge Edward E. Chang granted the city’s request for the delay, a small victory for a city that has lost a series of recent legal battles in its efforts to keep guns out. Chicago officials now find themselves ushering in a new era in which the city must welcome business that sell guns and residents who legally carry concealed weapons.

In fact, attorneys representing the Illinois Association of Firearms Retailers and others that sued the city argued against the six months of delay by noting Chicago officials are hardly strangers to addressing gun laws.

“The city has demonstrated in the past cases it can act quickly,” said Pete Patterson, pointing to the city’s fast action after the U.S. Supreme Court in 2010 rendered unenforceable Chicago’s decades-old ban on handguns.

Drew Worseck, an attorney representing the city, said that 2010 decision came after a long legal fight that gave officials time to consider its response while the timing on the gun sales decision was less expected.

Chang agreed with the Worseck, saying “six months is an appropriate time to stay the judgment.”

Just what the city’s ordinance will look like is unclear, but in asking for the 180 days, the city made it clear the job of crafting an ordinance will be complicated, with “many detailed components, including zoning, licensing and operational requirements for gun dealers …”

Todd Vandermyde, a lobbyist for the National Rifle Association, said gun stores could start opening in about a year.

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