Chicago’s attempts to cut gun-related violence in America’s murder capital may have suffered a setback after a ban on selling guns in the city was called unconstitutional by a federal judge.
US District Judge Edmond E Chang overturned the order, ruling it goes too far in stopping buyers and dealers from taking part in the lawful selling of arms.
He said the government has a duty to protect its citizens, but he also highlighted the fact that the ban covers gifts among family members.
However, he delayed bringing the ruling into effect to allow the city time to appeal if it chooses to – and the ban can stand in the meantime.
There were 415 murders in Chicago in 2013 – the highest of any US city, but down by 17% on the year before as extra police were put into high-crime areas.
The ban, which applies to the city limits but not the suburbs, was introduced to cut the number of shootings.
But the judge said people should be able to get hold of guns, within limits, under the US Constitution’s protection of the right to keep and bear arms for self-defence.
Gun sales are allowed outside of the Illinois city and anti-gun activists have complained criminals use “straw buyers” to buy guns outside and bring them into the centre.
And officials have admitted the ban was weakened due to the legal sale of guns in some surrounding areas and states.