A three-judge panel of the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals said that, even after the Supreme Court’s high-profile gun rights decision last year, the Second Amendment is no obstacle to mandatory gun registration.
The case arose out of the Chicago-area town of Cicero’s mandatory registration requirement for firearms. A local man named John Justice was raided by the Cicero police on suspicion of violating business ordinances including improper storage of chemicals; the police discovered six unregistered handguns during the raid.
Justice runs the Microcosm laminating company on 55th Ave., which sells special adhesives and does custom coatings for customers, and argued in a civil lawsuit that the local ordinance violated the Second Amendment. He did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Wednesday.
In a 3-0 opinion published last Friday, the judges said that this was a different situation from the District of Columbia v. Heller case, which led the Supreme Court to strike down D.C.’s law effectively prohibiting the ownership of handguns.
“There is a critical distinction between the D.C. ordinance struck down in Heller and the Cicero ordinance,” the court said in an opinion written by Judge Diane Wood, a Clinton appointee. “Cicero has not prohibited gun possession in the town. Instead, it has merely regulated gun possession under Section 62-260 of its ordinance.”
If the court had merely written that the Second Amendment doesn’t apply to the states (a concept called incorporation), this would not have been especially newsworthy. After all, a different three-judge panel from the 7th Circuit already has rejected the incorporation argument.
What’s unusual — and makes this case remarkable — is that Wood went out of her way to say that even if the Second Amendment does apply to states, mandatory gun registration would be perfectly constitutional. “The town does prohibit the registration of some weapons, but there is no suggestion in the complaint or the record that Justice’s guns fall within the group that may not be registered,” she wrote. “Nor does Heller purport to invalidate any and every regulation on gun use.” Read more