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A north suburban gunshop owner hoping to open gun "boutiques" in the Loop and Lincoln Park has filed a federal lawsuit against the city and Mayor Daley alleging a new gun ordinance is unconstitutional.
Joseph Franzese, owner of Villa Park-based Second Amendment Arms, and Robert M. Zieman Sr. filed the suit Friday in U.S. District Court against the city, the mayor, Police Supt. Jody Weis, City Clerk Miguel Del Valle and Corporation Counsel Mara Georges.
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Franzese wants to open "boutique" type gun stores in Lincoln Park and on Michigan Avenue downtown, according to his lawyer Walter Maksym, who is one of Drew Peterson's lawyers in his pending murder case.
"It's not going to have firearms [on display] or bullets [for sale], and you'll have to have a FOID card to get in," Maksym said. "There would be a secure area and after you look at some videos, you can pick out a gun you are interested in and a security guard will bring it in to view."
Maksym noted you would need a FOID card to see and handle guns. You would then order a gun and come back to get it later after a background check is conducted.
Franzese has spoken to a store owner interested in renting both the Lincoln Park and Michigan Avenue locations for his gun shops, Maksym said. He would not disclose where in Lincoln Park the store would be.
Friday's suit alleges that by banning gun shops and the sale of handguns, Chicago and Mayor Daley are maintaining and enforcing a set of laws that are in violation of the Second and 14th amendments.
The city Dept. of Law issued a statement in response to the suit, saying the new 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."
Franzese, along with the plaintiff of another suit filed earlier this week, are attempting to "greatly expand the limited right recognized in [the court ruling] to possess a handgun in the home for purposes of self-defense," the statement reads.
The suit also alleges, with a total ban on the sale of firearms and accessories, Chicago will suffer damages including "loss of profits, goodwill and other general and economic damages."
The suit alleges that on July 2, "without seeking or allowing public comment or input or review," the city adopted a more "sweeping ordinance" hurriedly proposed by Mayor Daley to become effective July 12.
Maksym called the "new gun ban ordinance" the city's way of being "sneaky and cute."
"The city can only think in one direction," he said. "The city is monomaniacal. It's a crazy attempt but they're going to have their hats handed to them. The Supreme Court isn't going to say you can own something but you can't buy it."
The suit also calls on the city to repay the owners of firearms confiscated under the old gun ban since 1982, including plaintiff Zieman. That claim may seek class-action status, the suit said.
In response, the city claims they have "strong legal defenses" to any such claim.
"In addition to statute of limitations issues, individuals who failed to challenge the constitutionality of the gun ordinance when their cases were pending have waived their legal claims and are not entitled to now seek restitution," according to the statement.
The suit seeks general, compensatory and punitive damages.
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