City should take on NRA

With a new offer for free legal counsel, the Evanston City Council has the potential to make the city a headliner in a federal case by standing up to the National Rifle Association.

A June 26 Supreme Court decision in June forced an already financially beleagured city government to allow handguns in homes in hopes of avoiding an expensive legal battle with the NRA.

Yet an offer from multinational law firm Schiff Hardin may lead to the reenstatement of the ban, which had stood since 1983.

In August, the NRA filed a suit in response to a Supreme Court ruling striking down a similar handgun ban in the District of Columbia as unconstitutional under the Second Amendment.

Not wanting to provoke a legal fight in light of the Supreme Court’s decision, the Evanston City Council quickly voted to amend the ban, but did so “kicking and screaming,” said Ald. Lionel Jean-Baptiste (2nd) (“City considers options after gun ban lawsuit” Sept. 23). Amending the code afforded the Council the opportunity to file a motion for dismissal of the case.

The city has nothing to lose in exploring its legal options further on someone else’s dime.

City officials should not be dogged by pessimistic about their chances, given that they have already amended the handgun ban. And any spotlight on such a case could provide would be interesting to watch.

Evanston’s aldermen should pursue this course of action and remain resolute in their conviction that the restoration of such a ban is a necessity in a city that saw at least one handgun death per year between 2004 and 2007.