Chicago Wins Delay of Ruling That Ends Gun-Sale Ban

Chicago won a six-month delay of a federal court ruling that invalidated the city’s ban on gun sales, giving it time to draft a new law.

U.S. District Judge Edmond Chang in Chicago granted the city’s request for an extension at a court hearing today.

In a Jan. 6 ruling, Chang struck down the ordinance, which was adopted in 2010 after the U.S. Supreme Court invalidated a more broad-based city law banning possession of firearms. He said the new law was also unconstitutional because while it allowed Chicagoans to have guns, it didn’t allow their purchase.

“Our goal is to create the strictest regulations that protect our residents and also comply with the court order without undermining the progress we have made in reducing violent crime throughout our city,” Mayor Rahm Emanuel said in a statement after the court granted the delay.

Chang’s decision to strike down the sale ban, which covered all transactions short of an inheritance from one family member to another, came as Chicago Police Department statistics showed the violent crime rate slowing in the third-biggest U.S. city.

The murder rate fell 18 percent last year, with 415 homicides, compared with 503 in 2012. Shooting incidents dropped 24 percent to 1,864 from 2,448.

Still, 2,328 people were victims of gun violence in Chicago last year. More than 3,000 were shot in 2012, according to police department statistics. The city has a population of about 2.7 million.

The gun-sale law was challenged by three Chicago residents and the Illinois Association of Firearms Retailers. Plaintiffs’ lawyer Peter A. Patterson, of Cooper & Kirk PLLC in Washington, didn’t immediately reply to an e-mailed request for comment on the delay.

The case is Benson v. City of Chicago, 10-cv-04184, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois (Chicago).

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