Sunday, May 30, 2010

McDonald vs. Chicago

The Huffington Post published a wonderful article by Lonnie Saunders about McDonald vs. Chicago.

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?

Please leave a comment.


  1. The states rights argument might make sense -- IF gun control advocates EVER agreed that there was a federal gun control law that should not apply to states or localities who don't want it.

  2. From the article: "Does the US Supreme Court want to tie up its docket for the next ten years with gun cases?"

    I long thought that the SC would avoid 2nd A issues for that reason. If the Court upheld the right (inevitable if they took the case, IMHO) they would still allow for reasonable gun regulation (which is waht happened) -- and no matter how thy defined it, they would be having to take years of more cases as to what was and was nor "reasonable."

  3. (From the article) Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr: "The Constitution, legal precedent and common-sense must prevail over a radical 'any gun, anywhere, anytime' argument."

    Note that the Congressman is full of crap: Heller was anything but an "any gun, anywhere, anytime" argument -- as gun control advocates have pointed out a zillion times.

  4. From the articel: "Will this be the Roberts Court's legacy? To be viewed as constitutionally encroaching upon the legislature's prerogative to decide which guns and weapons are acceptable based on each state's unique statistics?"

    Of course, gun control advocates don't want to stop at the states -- they want every possible locality "to decide which guns and weapons are acceptable."

    No big guns in East Podunk. No small guns in West Podunk. No handguns in North Podunk. No semiauto guns in South Podunk. A gunowner driving thru Podunk would need a law book.

  5. From the article: "Conceivably, the Supreme Court could hold that the Second Amendment right to bear arms applies to the states yet still find Chicago's gun ordinance to pass constitutional muster."

    Gun bans would be allowed? That might have an interesting consequence. On HuffPo, Paul Helmke of the Brady Campaign wrote:

    Over the years, I have seen the gun lobby effectively thwart efforts to pass many sensible gun laws by arguing that even modest gun control would lead down the path to a complete ban on gun ownership. It is the classic "slippery slope" argument, and it has served the gun lobby well politically. The "slippery slope," however, is now gone. The U.S. Supreme Court took it off the table Thursday in their D.C. v. Heller opinion. Government is now barred from "taking away" the guns of law-abiding Americans.

    But if the SC allows gun bans like Chicago's, then Helmke is WRONG and the "slippery slope" is NOT gone. If gun bans like Chicago's are allowed then the passage of lesser gun control laws could indeed lead down the path to various gun bans, and gun owners might need to continue to vigorously oppose such efforts.

  6. “We are not seeking to impose Chicago's handgun ban on other jurisdictions. Gun regulation decisions should be made based on local conditions."

    Yet gun controllers defend Chicago and DC’s failures by claiming people just go to Virginia to buy their guns. The excuse in this room is that these laws need to be broadened in area, maybe everywhere to work.

  7. Yes, indeed, broadened everywhere.

  8. You know what I find gloriously heartening? The growing trend in Chicago's black community to reject Chicago's "no guns for negroes" policy. Watch the video segment embedded in this article, where the attractive young lady says (about the Korean War veteran who, with an "illegal" handgun, killed the home invader thug):

    I feel like they're heroes. One less criminal.

    Perhaps even better is the tough old lady in this video:

    I think it was right.

    Anytime anybody come in your house, you supposed to kill him.

    If somebody come in my house, I know what I'm gonna do.

    Warms my heart.

    Or finally, here's this video. It's mostly about Mayor "Up Your Butt" Daley's borderline "terroristic" refusal to rule out prosecuting the hero homeowner, but also features civil rights icon Otis McDonald saying that the old guy should be commended, and get his gun back.

    It's long past time to emancipate Chicago, and Chicagoans are starting to wake up to that fact.

    We shall overcome.