I had a front row seat, next to the attorneys for Petitioner Otis McDonald, the 76-year-old South Side African-American grandfather, who brought this action. From the justices' questions, it sure didn't seem like a slam dunk for the gun lobby.
Now, that's a refreshing and hopeful change from what I've been hearing from the pro-gun side. Ms. Saunders goes on to explain in very simple terms the difference between the District of Columbia and Chicago, pointing out the fact that even the conservative Justices favor States Rights in many cases.
Attorney Benna Ruth Solomon, who represents the city of Chicago, explained it this way: "We are defending the right of choice for state and local governments. We are not the party seeking to change the law that has existed for the past 200 years. We are not seeking to impose Chicago's handgun ban on other jurisdictions. Gun regulation decisions should be made based on local conditions."
Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas, in particular, have traditionally paid careful heed to states' rights. As Justice Antonin Scalia put it during oral arguments in McDonald, "If there is a constitutional right, we find what the minimum constitutional right is, and everything above that is up to the states. In Heller, we did not decide the concealed carry law. You may have a great deal of divergence from state to state, and on that I suppose the legislature would do statistics. Statistics are not important for judges but they would be for the legislatures."
What's your opinion? Is this decision a slam dunk for the gun rights side? Are the gun control folks just whistling in the dark here?
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