Gun Victory in Chicago!
By Mark Anderson
A Washington state gun rights organization is elated over its landmark federal court victory, saying that the U.S. Supreme Court’s five-to-four ruling on June 28 that overturns Chicago’s handgun ban “clearly shows that the right of the individual citizen to have a gun is constitutionally protected in every corner of the United States.”
That’s according to Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) President Alan Gottlieb. While some corporate media have called this decision a reversal of Chicago’s “firearms” ban, it strictly deals with handguns. “In striking down Chicago’s handgun ban, and incorporating the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms so it applies to state and local governments as well as the federal government, the high court affirmed that
a constitutionally protected civil right cannot be arbitrarily regulated as though it were a privilege,” Gottlieb stated in a news release.
This McDonald vs. City of Chicago case was named for plaintiff Otis McDonald. The SAF news release added that the decision “marks another important Second Amendment victory for attorney Alan Gura, who also successfully argued the Heller case in 2008,” referring to Dick Heller of Washington, D.C., who fought to overturn the district’s handgun ban.
This time around, Gura represented the Illinois State Rifle Association (ISRA), Mr. McDonald, three other Chicago residents and the SAF. ISRA Executive Director Richard Pearson said the ruling “has ended the years of oppression of law-abiding gun owners by the city of Chicago,” as quoted in the SAF release.
SAF spokesman Dave Workman told this editor on June 29 from his Bellevue, Wash. office that McDonald extends Heller across America. Workman, senior editor of Gunweek magazine, said Heller determined that the Second Amendment applies to the “federal enclave” known as the District of Columbia and that D.C.’s handgun ban was thus unconstitutional.
McDonald in effect extends Heller to apply to “San Francisco, Missoula, Milwaukee” and everywhere else, Workman said, adding that states [and their localities] such as Arizona, Washington and Montana with strong firearms protections in their own constitutions may be less affected and those like California that lack such provisions may be more affected.
Gottlieb stated that average Chicago residents like McDonald “will now enjoy the same right of self defense as a squad of bodyguards provides to Mayor Richard Daley. Now we can work to lower the deplorable violent crime rate in Chicago, something that the anti-gun mayor’s policies have been unable to accomplish.”
Contacted by AFP, Charles E. Rice, a Notre Dame professor emeritus of law, responded favorably to what the ruling generally accomplished but expressed reservations about the theory behind it.
“It’s the right result for, theoretically, the wrong reason,” said Rice.
Referring to the SAF’s statement about “incorporating the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms so that it applies to state and local governments” . . . and that “the high court affirmed that a constitutionally protected civil right cannot be . . . regulated,” Rice’s view is that a “civil right” is typically regarded as something a little different, like “the right to vote,” which is the kind of thing the government helps provide and therefore regulates, as opposed to a constitutional right, which is supposed to be a God-given thing that the government is prohibited from regulating, ideally.
Mark Anderson is a longtime newsman now working as the editor for AFP. He and his wife Angie provide photographs and video of the events they cover for AFP. Listen to Mark’s radio show at republicbroadcasting.org, Sundays at 7pm central. Email him at at email@example.com.
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(Issue # 28, July 12, 2010)