Supreme Court to Chicago Handgun Ban: Get Down or Lay Down

Daley at a handgun turn-in event in 2005

In typical 5-4 decision, the conservative majority of the Supreme Court of the United States in McDonald v. Chicago essentially forced the City of Chicago back to the drawing board with it’s handgun ban. The law in the city of Chicago bans handgun ownership prior to the early 1980s.  It is illegal, well, it was illegal to purchase a gun and own it in the city of Chicago.  This simply meant that many gun shops crossed the city border and persons found easy loopholes and still purchased guns from there.

My parents don’t own a gun.  I’ve only seen a gun up close once, and that was my cousin’s department issued piece when he worked for CHA police and I was definitely a kid at that time.  I’ve certainly never held a gun either.  Am I afraid of guns?  Well, let’s say I have a healthy trepidation for them.  How I really feel about it is that municipalities and states have a right to, in church lingo, “govern and act accordingly” as they see the need.  As both in Washington, DC and Chicago both cities have over the years seen countless deaths due to gun violence.  The Justice Department released stats that say two-thirds of homicides by firearms were by handguns.

In the words of my president, “let me be clear”: I don’t know where I stand on this issue because I think both sides have a fair and just argument.  On the one hand, I feel that a homeowner should have a right to own a handgun and shoot any would-be intruder in their house especially because said intruder may be armed and ready to shoot to kill as well.  Why bring a knife to a gun fight?  On the other hand, in metropolitan cities, gun violence is terrible enough as it is, why are we giving a green light to put more and more guns in the hands of the citizenry–law abiding or not.

Despite my “on the fence dealings” with this issue of handguns, I get nervous anytime I hear about a win for gun lobbyists.  I swear gun lobbyists and organizations such as the National Rifle Association make my skin crawl.  They seem like a bunch of rich racist white males who are sitting around preparing for the time to “take their country back” Tea Party style.  I know that’s a VAST and probably unfair generalization, but I’m sure they’ve made plenty of prejudicial generalizations about “those animals” in the inner cities killing each other–so now we’re even.

I mean, honestly, this isn’t the end of the world for the city of Chicago and handgun ban proponents.  There is this clause issued in the majority opinion about “reasonable” regulations concerning the ownership.  Such ideas would be requiring insurance of the gun in order to purchase it (which would lead to better tracking of the gun) or even gun training courses.  Most other major cities have some form of handgun policy on the books, Chicago just damn near took a wild west approach and essentially said no handguns allowed in the city limits.

While some studies have shown that in some municipalities that home invasion has gone down as a result of that famous Texas law that allows homeowners to shoot and kill intruders but not face manslaughter charges, I just want to know if accidental discharge rates have gone up, or how many more stories has the news reported about 8 year old Jimmy shooting himself in the face playing with daddy’s gun.  This a problem and an issue that gun lobbyists and these rabid 2nd Amendment fools rarely deal with.  It always seems like they have some underlying cause to wanting to own guns that goes past merely trying to protect their homes from riffraffs.

Another unsettling issue at play with this for me is this conservative meme about “states’ rights” that they holler about ad nauseum and ad infinitum.  I do think that this one should be left up to the states as how to handle it, and even the justices feel the same way as evidenced by their “reasonable” regulations wording.  This just means that yet more and more court rooms will be filled up with lawsuits challenging this “reasonable” asking will this work? what about this? have you tried it this way and what not.  I just think that the states rights argument is bollocks now.  These conservative proponents only want decry states rights when they don’t get their way and what they perceive to be their “God-given rights” are being infringed upon.  This even means their their privileges and rights supersede that of other groups in this country.

My memory of the states’ rights argument goes back to the John Marshall decision that allows for constitutional law to supersede any state law.  But this notion has always been challenged resulting in Supreme Court decisions. I mean, it’s not coincidence that of top five major Supreme Court decisions that are at the forefront of the American consciousness, three of them are directly related to race? [1]  States’ rights was the horse ridden by southern states in the ante-bellum and Jim Crow south in favor of slavery and discrimination.  I wouldn’t be shocked if there are still people in some of these states, as they clutch their guns referring to the Civil War as the War of Northern Aggression.

Finally, if I can put on my Huey Freeman hat for a moment, I’m just a bit more concerned about what are we doing with all of these assault rifles that are out on the streets.  These assault weapons that are out there, I want to know how are they getting in our country? I ask the same about these hardcore drugs.  I mean we watch the news about the latest million dollar drug bust, about border patrols trying to stop drugs being smuggled in from Mexico and other places south of the border and we hear about the latest shooting, but we watch with a benign passivity just happy it didn’t happen to us or it wasn’t in out backyard.  Honestly, our fight isn’t just with individuals taking responsibility for their own actions, but damn, they didn’t just go to the neighborhood gun shop and pick up some Russian assault rifle–or did they? I guess that’s for another blog.

The saying is “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.”  Well, if they didn’t have a gun, they probably wouldn’t have killed them.


Solicitor General Elena Kagan facing confirmation hearings with Sen. Jeff Session, R-Ala. on the left and Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Ver. on the right., 6/28/2010

And since we’re on the subject of the Supreme Court, I’d like to send a cup of STFU and saddown to U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions, from Alabama for suggesting that it’s a problem that Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan is unqualified for the position because she “It’s not just that she has never been a judge…She has barely practiced law, and not with the intensity and duration from which real understanding occurs.”

Wow.  Tough words.

And these words ring hollow in the face of the fact that William Rehnquist had no judicial experience and that five of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s nine nominees had no judicial experience.  But I guess, since she’s clearly going to get nominated barring her effing anything up herself, Sessions has nothing to lose when he says what he says.

Go for it sir.

Keep it uppity and keep it truthfully radical, JLL

3 thoughts on “Supreme Court to Chicago Handgun Ban: Get Down or Lay Down

  1. Those confirmation hearings were trip. I couldn’t believe that they were sitting there calling a Thurgood Marshall was a rogue activitist.

    Peace, Love and Chocolate

    1. @Tiffany

      YEah, I just read about the whole Thurgood Marshall thing and that’sa trip for real.

  2. Every man, woman, and child should be familiar with and respect firearms. There is nothing more dangerous than a weapon in the hands of the ignorant. That being said, here’s a small selection of some of my favorite gun quotes.
    “This country, with its institutions, belongs to the people who inhabit it. Whenever they shall grow weary of the existing government, they can exercise their constitutional right of amending it or their revolutionary right to dismember it or overthrow it.”

    — Abraham Lincoln, 4 April 1861

    “No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms. The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government”

    — Thomas Jefferson, 1 Thomas Jefferson Papers, 334

    …Virtually never are murderers the ordinary, law-abiding people against whom gun bans are aimed. Almost without exception, murderers are extreme aberrants with lifelong histories of crime, substance abuse, psychopathology, mental retardation and/or irrational violence against those around them, as well as other hazardous behavior, e.g., automobile and gun accidents.”

    — Don B. Kates, writing on statistical patterns in gun crime

    Let us hope our weapons are never needed –but do not forget what the common people knew when they demanded the Bill of Rights: An armed citizenry is the first defense, the best defense, and the final defense against tyranny. If guns are outlawed, only the government will have guns. Only the police, the secret police, the military, the hired servants of our rulers. Only the government — and a few outlaws. I intend to be among the outlaws.”

    — Edward Abbey, “Abbey’s Road”, 1979

    “Taking my gun away because I might shoot someone is like cutting my tongue out because I might yell `Fire!’ in a crowded theater.”

    — Peter Venetoklis

    “Today, we need a nation of Minutemen, citizens who are not only prepared to take arms, but citizens who regard the preservation of freedom as the basic purpose of their daily life and who are willing to consciously work and sacrifice for that freedom.”

    — John F. Kennedy


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