On September 26, 2012 the United States District Court in the Northern District of Illinois awarded the National Rifle Association (NRA) $125,000 to reimburse it for attorney’s fees spent winning a lawsuit against the City of Chicago over a Chicago firearm ordinance on behalf of NRA member Shawn Gowder. In striking down the law, the Court held that the ordinance is unconstitutionally void for vagueness and also violates the plaintiff’s Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms. A copy of the court filings in this case and the $125,000 check from the City of Chicago can be viewed here.
The NRA’s motion for attorney’s fees in the case of Gowder v. Chicago was granted following a successful NRA motion for summary judgment. The Gowder case challenged the constitutionality of a Chicago ordinance that banned people with certain non-violent misdemeanor convictions from possessing firearms in their homes for self-defense. Mr. Gowder had a misdemeanor conviction for “unlawful use of a weapon” (simply having a handgun on his person outside his own home). When Mr. Gowder wanted to possess a firearm in his home and sought a firearm permit (as is required by the Chicago ordinance), his application was denied. Even though his misdemeanor record did not prevent Mr. Gowder from obtaining a Firearm Owner’s Identification card, Mr. Gowder could not obtain the firearms permit necessary to possess a firearm in his own home because the law prohibited permits from being issued to anyone convicted of “an unlawful use of a weapon that is a firearm,” even if it was just a misdemeanor conviction.