Killing Season Chicago, Wicker Park, July 2011

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Monday, June 28, 2010

Chicago's Gun Ban Overturned in the Supreme Court

McDonald vs Chicago

I am curious to see how this effects my project as the laws change and the summer progresses.

The Supreme Court has ruled Chicago's 28-year-old strict ban on handgun ownership unconstitutional. A 5-4 conservative majority of justices on Monday reiterated its two-year-old conclusion the Constitution gives individuals equal or greater power than states on the issue of possession of certain firearms for self-protection. The court grounded that right in the due process section of the 14th Amendment. The justices, however, said local jurisdictions still retain the flexibility to preserve some "reasonable regulations" of firearms including restrictions on gun possession by felons and the mentally ill and bans on guns in schools and government buildings.

Today's ruling follows a decision two years ago in which the court for the first time declared that the 2nd Amendment protects the rights of individuals. The amendment says, "A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."

Otis McDonald, 76, one of the people who sued Chicago over the gun ban, thanked the justices "for having the courage to right a wrong, which has impacted many lives long ago and that will protect lives for many years to come." When asked by a reporter what type of handgun he would buy, he did not miss a beat. "I don't have no preference right now. I can use all of them," he said. Another person who sued the city, Colleen Lawson, said she was confident the ban would be struck down. "It's like in the Wild West... there's a higher court," she said. "The higher court is the constitution of the United States."

"If (the) safety of . . . law abiding members of the community would be enhanced by the possession of handguns in the home for self-defense, then the Second Amendment right protects the rights of minorities and other residents of high-crime areas whose needs are not being met by elected public officials." It was also noted that the number of Chicago homicide victims during the current year equaled the number of American soldiers killed during that same period in Afghanistan and Iraq

Wayne LaPierre, chief executive officer of the National Rifle Association, said he was concerned that the "constitutional victory" of today's ruling will be "turned into a practical defeat by defiant city councils and cynical politicians who seek to nullify or revise this decision through a byzantine labyrinth of regulations and restrictions" to make handgun ownership "unaffordable and inaccessible." Addressing Daley, LaPierre said: "He's saying, 'I don't care if it's a constitutional right.' The opinion of Mayor Daley doesn't entitle him to throw out the Bill of Rights."

The justices sent the case back to Chicago for a lower court to issue the final decision, so the city's ban remains in effect for now. An attorney involved in the case advised against Chicagoans running out and purchasing handguns until a lower court rules on the matter later this summer.

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