CHICAGO — Four Chicago residents and a gun sellers group have sued the city over a tough new gun control ordinance put in place after the US Supreme Court made a decades-old ban on firearms unenforceable.
The federal lawsuit contends the new ordinance, which city officials say is the strictest in the country, infringes on residents’ constitutional right to bear arms. The plaintiffs want the measure declared void and the city barred from enforcing it.
Gun rights supporters had predicted a flood of lawsuits after aldermen unanimously approved the ordinance Friday, four days after the Supreme Court ruled that Americans have the right to have handguns anywhere for self-defense.
The high court ruling made the city’s 28-year-old ban on firearms unenforceable. City officials responded with an ordinance that bans gun shops in Chicago and prohibits gun owners from stepping outside their homes, even onto their porches or into their garages, with a handgun.
The city’s Law Department defended the ordinance yesterday, saying the Supreme Court’s rulings recognized that some restrictions on the possession of firearms are appropriate.
“We believe that Chicago’s ordinance is a reasonable attempt to balance the right of individuals to possess handguns in the home for self-defense with the substantial risks to public safety that are associated with the proliferation of firearms,’’ the Law Department said.
The lawsuit’s plaintiffs include a trader on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, an educator who lives near a high-crime neighborhood, a veterinarian who owns a clinic, and her husband.
The Illinois Association of Firearms Retailers, a Carbondale-based nonprofit, also is a plaintiff in the suit, which names the city and Mayor Richard Daley as defendants.