Updated: May 20, 2020
Originally posted on HalseyNews.com on May 12, 2019
If you’re a Conservative/ Republican, Right Winger or just a supporter of the Constitution, you have probably seen a lack of mainstream media coverage that’s dedicated to your views. If you’re a 2nd Amendment or Gun Rights Advocate, you see almost nothing in praise of those stances. If you’re a woman, especially a mother (or parent in general), that believes and upholds the Right to Bear Arms, you’re probably bombarded by many articles and narratives that say you are in the wrong for your beliefs. As you scroll deep through web searches, trying to find something that validates your cause, it’s disheartening to see the headlines that scream at you negative perceptions of firearm ownership. Not to mention the anger that’s directed at you on social media, if you happen to voice your opinions on the matter.
You’re told you have “blood on your hands,” or, that “you don’t care about the overall safety of the children in our nation.” You are made to feel inferior, low in form, as Gun Control Activists speak to you as if you’re a common criminal. No matter what your reasons for standing for the Right to own and carry a firearm, to those who disagree, “you only care about the firearm rather than your loved ones and others.” Doesn’t matter about your story or any factual stats that you can provide. You are made out to seem, or even feel, like a monster.
These accusations didn’t stop one 2nd Amendment Defender.
Imagine living alone, with major health conditions, or disabled. Imagine living in an area that has some of the strictest Gun Control Laws in all of the nation, but is riddled with chaos and crime. Imagine someone attempting to break into your home. Imagine it being unlawful for you to own a firearm.
This is the story of one courageous Mother from Chicago, IL. This is Rhonda Ezell.
Ezell, an Illinois native, took it upon herself to be a law abiding gun owner at the age of 18 years old, when she obtained her Firearm Owner’s Identification Card. Many years later, when local gang members were tormenting her young son, Rhonda actually purchased her first firearm for self protection- although it was in violation of Chicago’s Handgun Ban that was put into place in the 1980s.
Living in Chicago, IL, is not for the faint of heart. Ezell faced the fear of several break-in attempts to her home; and since she suffered from multiple health issues, including a time on life support due to the need for a kidney transplant, optional methods of home security and self protection were not congruent to her conditions. The idea of throwing a punch, or wielding a knife at an assailant in self defense, was out of the question. Instead, a firearm gave her a sense of security.
June 26th, 2008, District of Columbia v. Heller: The U.S. Supreme Court overruled the Handgun Ban set forth by Washington, DC- stating that the ban was Unconstitutional, in regards to the 2nd Amendment, which guarantees a person’s right to own a firearm for self protection needs. Many Illinois municipalities lifted their handgun bans, except Oak Park and Chicago.
Two years later, on June 28th, 2010, the case of McDonald v. Chicago set the precedent, when Otis McDonald took on the Chicago Government due to a home invasion that led to him being threatened and scared for his life. Chicago lifted the ban officially on July 12th, 2010, with restrictions, which included that residents were required to have a Chicago Firearms Permit. To obtain the permit, those filing were required to take an 8 hour firearms training course on top of passing a thorough background check, and pay a $100 fee. The firearms must also be kept inside the actual home, and only one firearm was permitted for home security purposes.
Rhonda Ezell, after seeing the McDonald v. Chicago hearing on the news, wanted to do her duty as a law abiding citizen and firearm owner, so she set forth to get her Chicago Firearms Permit. She filled out the forms, passed her background check, then graciously went to take a class on the laws, responsibilities and safety expectations for owning a gun. After the class, her instructor told the students that they would drive 50 miles away, to Dundee, IL, the next day to take a course on handling and shooting- because Chicago did not have a public firearms range. Despite her medical conditions, Ezell complied and on the following day, she finished the course.
Upon returning home, Rhonda was perplexed by the news of Chicago not having a shooting range accessible to the public, for continued training and education. For the area not to have an adequate venue for residents to practice, the idea only set up law abiding citizens to potentially, and involuntarily, break the law. The work that Washington, D.C. v. Heller and McDonald v. Chicago would all be in vain. Being a lifetime member of the Illinois State Rifle Association, Rhonda called with questions, and to inform them of her most recent experience to obtain a Chicago Firearms Permit. After much discussion, they came to the conclusion that Rhonda’s Rights had been violated, and soon after, Ezell v. Chicago took to the forefront.
Ezell v. Chicago is the historical telling of a Woman, a MOM, who went head to head with “The Chicago Machine,” and it’s laws that infringe upon The People’s 2nd Amendment Right To Bear Arms. Rhonda’s goal was to bring an adequate facility to the Chicago area, so that firearm owners could safely train and stay educated. Her first challenge was to have the city remove the ban on public target/ live- fire ranges. She ended up winning after an appeal in July of 2011.
The City of Chicago removed the ban, but soon after, changed its zoning ordinances, which made planning of such a facility so restrictive, it would’ve been nearly impossible to build a suitable venue. Along with others, Ezell pushed back harder and the case was taken back to court. For almost a decade, Rhonda Ezell, and her fellow gun owning supporters, fought the City of Chicago on their deceptions. In what’s considered a landmark victory, on January 18th, 2017, the 7th District Court Of Appeals ruled that Chicago’s ban on gun ranges was unconstitutional, which also led to the lifting of the zoning ordinances, as well as age requirements for minors.
Two months later, on March 15th, 2017, an overall decision was finally made and Ezell won when the City of Chicago withdrew from the fight.
To this day, the Chicago Government has yet to follow through with the approval on construction of an adequate shooting range for the public. Rhonda Ezell has stayed persistent in her mission, though. As co-Founder of the Gun Rights group, Chicago Guns Matter, Ezell has taken part in something even more major in standing up for the Rights of The People– not just in Chicago, not just Illinois, but for the entire Nation. The City of Chicago being a basis on how the United States forms it’s Gun Control Laws, Rhonda, with Chicago Guns Matter, have set out to be an example for law abiding gun owners, to become and stay educated on firearm safety, laws, and other firearm responsibilities. What’s even more important, Chicago Guns Matter gives a historical overview on the Constitutional Right to Bear Arms, as well as highlighting WHO helped in the fight for Chicagoan's to exercise that Right.
Now, a doting grandmother, Rhonda Ezell passes along her knowledge and experiences to her young granddaughter, MJ. The education that MJ receives now on firearm safety, as a youth, will go with her for many years to come- and who better to learn it from than her very own Hero For American Rights?