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McDonald v. Chigago USSC

 
 
Reply Sun 21 Mar, 2010 06:05 am
CHICAGO SUN-TIMES

March 5, 2010

BY MAUREEN MARTIN
Chicago's gun ban ordinance was enacted in 1982 to stem the
increasing use of firearms in crimes in the city. From the beginning,
the ordinance has been an utter failure in accomplishing that goal.

The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments Tuesday in a case
brought by Chicago residents who want guns for self-defense but
are barred by the ordinance from possessing them. Judging by the
justices' questioning, a majority appeared to be leaning toward
ruling the gun ban -- and Oak Park's similar ordinance --
unconstitutional. That is the right thing to do.

The argument turned on constitutional niceties. The Bill of Rights,
including the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms,
originally applied only to the national government. As time went on,
various amendments were "incorporated" so they applied to the
states as well -- the First Amendment right to free speech, for example.
The issue before the court is whether the Second Amendment should
apply to the states and their municipal subdivisions. A ruling is expected in June.

The home of the lead plaintiff in the case, Otis McDonald, 76, has
been burglarized several times, and his life has been threatened.
He wants to own a handgun for self-defense.

He needs one. The number of murders committed with guns has
soared in Chicago since the ordinance was enacted, as has the share
of all murders committed with guns. In 1983, the first year the
Chicago ordinance was in effect, 290 murders (39.8 percent of the total)
were committed with handguns. That rose to 513 murders (60.2 percent)
committed with handguns in 1990.

In 2003, 442 murders (73.5 percent) were committed with handguns,
and in 2008, 402 handgun murders were committed (78.7 percent).

In the 25 years since Chicago's handgun ban was enacted, the number
of murders committed with handguns dropped below 1983 levels in
only four years, 1984-87. All of these data are from the Chicago Police Department.

McDonald says teenagers are common perpetrators of crime in his neighborhood,
and he fears them. His fear is real. In 1983, just over 16 percent
of the murders in the city were committed by individuals under 21
armed with guns, according to CPD statistics. By 1990, that rose to 24.5 percent.

In 1995, the share of murders committed by people ages 14 to 25
with any weapon rose to 72.4 percent, an all-time high. (Youth gun
murders were not reported separately in police department analyses
after 1990.) In 2008, the percentage of murders committed by
individuals in that age group was 56.3 percent, according to police
department data.

In addition, police have no legal duty to protect individual citizens.
As one Illinois court put it, such a duty "would put the police in the
position of guaranteeing the personal safety of every member of the community."

Even if there were such a duty, police can't protect everyone.
In the past decade, the number of sworn and exempt personnel
in the police department decreased slightly, from 13,484 in 1998
to 13,354 in 2008, the department reports. In that same decade the
number of 911 calls increased from 3.8 million to 4.7 million. Thus
police necessarily tend to respond to crimes after they have occurred.

Ultimately, then, Chicagoans have to rely greatly on self-defense.
The right to bear arms for self-defense has been recognized in
England and here since the mid-1700s. We can hope this century,
and this U.S. Supreme Court case, will bring its revival in Chicago.

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maporsche
 
  1  
Reply Sun 21 Mar, 2010 07:41 am
Great article.

I read another one from the sun times this week that pointed out that Chicago's gun ban doesn't make any sense because you can purchase legal guns by taking a 20 minute car ride. The whole country would have to enact chicago's type of gun control for it to have any effect on reducing hand guns held by criminals. And even then it would only be marginally effective, as it would take decades to remove the guns currently on the market.

And of course you'd need politicians and a population to be willing to do it, which I'd be surprised if we ever have.
OmSigDAVID
 
  1  
Reply Sun 21 Mar, 2010 07:46 am
@maporsche,
maporsche wrote:
Great article.

I read another one from the sun times this week that pointed out that Chicago's gun ban doesn't make any sense because you can purchase legal guns by taking a 20 minute car ride. The whole country would have to enact chicago's type of gun control for it to have any effect on reducing hand guns held by criminals. And even then it would only be marginally effective, as it would take decades to remove the guns currently on the market.

And of course you'd need politicians and a population to be willing to do it, which I'd be surprised if we ever have.
Blackmarket gunsmiths woud be in their glory.
0 Replies
 
Irishk
 
  2  
Reply Sun 21 Mar, 2010 09:38 am
Quote:
In addition, police have no legal duty to protect individual citizens.


Of course not. That's why Mayor Daley's bodyguards are armed. Something Mr. McDonald probably couldn't afford, even if it were legal for him to do so. Which it's not under current law.

Mayor Daley must consider his own safety more worthy.


OmSigDAVID
 
  1  
Reply Sun 21 Mar, 2010 10:21 am
@Irishk,
Irishk wrote:

Quote:
In addition, police have no legal duty to protect individual citizens.


Of course not. That's why Mayor Daley's bodyguards are armed. Something Mr. McDonald probably couldn't afford, even if it were legal for him to do so. Which it's not under current law.

Mayor Daley must consider his own safety more worthy.
I am sure he does, K!





David


[/quote]
0 Replies
 
OmSigDAVID
 
  1  
Reply Mon 22 Mar, 2010 03:16 am

I expect a decision on this case before July.





David
maporsche
 
  1  
Reply Mon 22 Mar, 2010 07:47 am
@OmSigDAVID,
I hope so; I move to Chicago this weekend and would like to take my gun out of storage (a whole 5 miles (10 minutes) away, gosh the handgun ban really works doesn't it) as soon as possible. The shotgun is a bit unwiedly for the little lady.
OmSigDAVID
 
  1  
Reply Mon 22 Mar, 2010 07:51 am
@maporsche,
maporsche wrote:
I hope so; I move to Chicago this weekend and would like to take my gun out of storage (a whole 5 miles (10 minutes) away, gosh the handgun ban really works doesn't it) as soon as possible. The shotgun is a bit unwiedly for the little lady.
The USSC session ends in June, same as in 2008, with HELLER.

I feel like I did when I was witnessing the decline and death of communism.





David
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