BY DAVE WORKMAN – One group says Monday’s Supreme Court ruling in McDonald v. Chicago will result in more homicides and another lumped law abiding gun owners and criminals into the same sentence.
None of it will take away from the jubilation being celebrated through the firearms community over the historic 5-4 ruling by the high court that incorporates the Second Amendment to apply to state and local governments through the Due Process clause of the 14th Amendment. It will, according to the Chicago Tribune, open the doors for a stream of legal challenges to gun laws across the map.
Today’s ruling extends the reach of the 2nd Amendment and will open the courthouse doors nationwide for gun rights advocates to challenge restrictions on firearms as unconstitutional.—Chicago Tribune
This was a shining moment for the Second Amendment Foundation and its co-plaintiffs in the case, the Illinois State Rifle Association and four Chicago-area residents, Otis McDonald – for whom the case is named – plus Adam Orlov and David and Colleen Lawson.
It was not such a hot moment for the national press, which – in an obvious effort to not appear mixed up – largely refrained from noting that this was SAF’s case. They didn’t identify any organization as having filed the case. They tend to see the gun rights community as a monolith of the National Rifle Association, and it seems a bit unnerving for them to face the fact that there are several organizations pressing this issue. The Seattle Times and on-line Seattle Post-Intelligencer essentially ran the same wire service feed from the Associated Press to report the story, even though the case was filed by an organization that headquarters in Bellevue, just across the lake, so there is a significant local angle.
We can expect two things as a result of today’s decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in McDonald v. Chicago: the gun lobby and gun criminals will use it to try to strike down gun laws, and those legal challenges will continue to fail.”—Paul Helmke, Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence
The Seattle Weekly did weigh in with a local flavor, but Rick Anderson used it to take a few swipes at SAF’s Alan Gottlieb in the process.
One thing the ruling affirmed that had nothing to do with the specific case was that former NRA President Sandra Froman, a Tucson, AZ attorney who opposed the confirmation of Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court today stands vindicated. Sotomayor came down on the minority side of the ruling, joining the dissent of Justice Stephen Breyer, along with Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Retiring Justice John Paul Stevens wrote his own dissent, which was verbally savaged by a concurring opinion written by Justice Antonin Scalia, author of the court’s landmark Heller ruling in 2008.
Monday’s ruling did not nullify Chicago’s handgun ban, though that is the essential fate, since the ban part of this case has been remanded back to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals for reconsideration under the high court’s incorporation decision. Already, anti-gun Mayor Richard Daley is vowing to make it as onerous as possible for any of his crime-weary constituents to exercise their re-claimed right of self-defense by legally obtaining handguns.
Monday’s decision did not explicitly strike down the Chicago area laws. Instead, it ordered a federal appeals court to reconsider its ruling. But it left little doubt that the statutes eventually would fall.
The majority opinion, written by Justice Samuel Alito, touched considerably on the racist roots of gun control and also said this: “Evidence from the period immediately following the ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment only confirms that the right to keep and bear arms was considered fundamental.”
On the other hand, Breyer ended his dissent with this remarkable assertion that clearly paints Sotomayor into a corner as a participant:
“In sum, the Framers did not write the Second Amendment in order to protect a private right of armed self defense. There has been, and is, no consensus that the right is, or was, ‘fundamental.’ No broader constitutional interest or principle supports legal treatment of that right as fundamental. To the contrary, broader constitutional concerns of an institutional nature argue strongly against that treatment.
People will die because of this decision. It is a victory only for the gun lobby and America‘s fading firearms industry…The 30,000 lives claimed annually by gun violence and the families destroyed in the wake of mass shootings and murder-suicides mean little to the gun lobby and the firearm manufacturers it protects.”—ViolencePolicyCenter
“Moreover, nothing in 18th-, 19th-, 20th-, or 21st-century history shows a consensus that the right to private armed self-defense, as described in Heller, is ‘deeply rooted in this Nation’s history or tradition’ or is otherwise ‘fundamental.’ Indeed, incorporating the right recognized in Heller may change the law in many of the 50 States. Read in the majority’s favor, the historical evidence is at most ambiguous. And, in the absence of any other support for its conclusion, ambiguous history cannot show that the Fourteenth Amendment incorporates a private right of self-defense against the States.”
Chicago Mayor Richard Daley says he’s encouraged by what he sees in D.C. and vows not go down without a fight.“We’re not going to roll over,” Daley told The Associated Press.
The McDonald ruling is hardly the end of this. It merely opens the door for further legal challenges of gun laws that seem onerous at best, and are probably unconstitutional. Somewhere in the process, we may see defined what is, and is not, a “reasonable gun regulation.”
With some authority, this column can advise readers to keep their eyes open for the next 24-48 hours, because it is almost certain there will be new legal actions in the wake of today’s ruling. And there will be more comment in tomorrow’s entry about this case.
Dave Workman is the editor of GunWeek Magazine. He wrote this for the Seattle Gun Rights Examiner and it is reprinted with permission.