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Chicago-Area Gun Owners Praise D.C. Ruling

ARI SHAPIRO, host:

The D.C. gun ban that led to yesterday's ruling is one of the strictest laws of its kind. Chicago's is similar. And some gun owners there have already filed a suit challenging their city's anti-gun law. NPR's David Schaper has that part of the story.

DAVID SCHAPER: I'm standing in front of Shore Galleries. It's a gun shop in the North Chicago suburb of Lincolnwood. And on this side of the street, Devon Avenue, where the shop is located, the handguns sold in this shop are completely legal. Across the street, well, that's the city of Chicago and Chicago has a ban on handguns similar to that in Washington, D.C. So some customers here at Shore Galleries are praising the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling striking down the Washington, D.C. gun ban.

Mr. FRANK JOHNSON (Owner, Home Inspection Company): You should have the right to defend yourself.

SCHAPER: Frank Johnson owns a home inspection company in Chicago's northern suburbs.

Mr. JOHNSON: You know, I'm not saying I'm going to defend myself with a, you know, grenade cannon or something, we're just talking about a regular pistol. So I think that was a just ruling.

SCHAPER: Johnson says he comes from a shooting family and that he takes his 10-and 13-year-old children, who have had gun safety courses, out hunting and skeet shooting. He says he doesn't mind that the Supreme Court decision leaves some restrictions on gun ownership in place, such as prohibiting felons from owning guns and requiring owners to register their guns.

Mr. JOHNSON: We're a state that has to have a FOID card where you have to produce document, you know, that you haven't been institutionalized or some other background challenges. And if you pass that you get the right to carry a gun. I think the whole country should be like that. I really do. I think the gun card thing is a great thing. It winnows out some people that probably shouldn't have a gun.

SCHAPER: The waiting period and…

Mr. JOHNSON: Oh, three days, yeah. I think it's awesome.

(Soundbite of gun shots)

SCHAPER: There's a shooting range in the back of Illinois Gun Works, another gun shop just over the border of Chicago in suburban Elmwood Park. Owner Don Mastrianni says he too is happy that the Supreme Court finally upheld an individual's right to keep and bear arms in his or her home for protection. And he calls it hypocritical for some politicians to prohibit handguns in the first place.

Mr. DON MASTRIANNI (Owner, Illinois Gun Works): In Mayor Daley's case, he's got armed security. He's got his own bodyguards. You and I can't afford that. I don't see any gangs chasing him down the street trying to shoot him.

SCHAPER: Mastrianni says that while the 26-year-old Chicago ban on handguns mirrors the Washington, D.C. ban struck down by the Supreme Court, he doesn't expect to be able to sell handguns to any Chicago residents soon.

Mr. MASTRIANNI: Locally, I don't think it's going to make any difference because there's going to be a lot of litigation. I'm sure Mayor Daley's going to fight it.

SCHAPER: That litigation has already begun. Four Chicago residents who say they legally own handguns but keep them outside of the city filed a lawsuit in U.S. district court in Chicago yesterday, challenging the city's ban on handguns. The Illinois State Rifle Association and the Second Amendment Foundation have joined the plaintiffs in filing the suit.

David Schaper, NPR News, Chicago.

SHAPIRO: You can read a timeline with milestones in the history of gun legislation at our Web site, NPR.org. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

David Schaper is a correspondent on NPR's National Desk, based in Chicago, primarily covering transportation and infrastructure, as well as breaking news in Chicago and the Midwest.