Sangamon County Rifle Association
Right Reason on Second Amendment Rights
McDonald v. Chicago
Jim Butler, President, SCRA
November 2009 GunNews
By agreeing to hear a challenge to Chicago's 27-year-old ban on handguns, the U.S. Supreme Court set the stage for a historic ruling on gun rights. McDonald v. Chicago.
The case was brought on behalf of four Chicago residents, the Second Amendment Foundation and the Illinois State Rifle Association.
Otis McDonald a Chicago resident since 1952 who led the fight to integrate his union local in the 1960's is a plaintiff in the case. He said, "I'm grateful the Supreme Court has agreed to hear this case. I now pray that the Court secures me and all other law-abiding citizens the right to defend ourselves and our families."
Oral arguments in the case are expected to commence in January 2010.
At issue is whether state and local gun-control ordinances can be overturned as violating the "right to keep and bear arms" as cited in the Second Amendment of the Bill of Rights. A Supreme Court ruling on Chicago's sweeping handgun ban, which could come by the summer of 2010, could open the door to legal challenges of various anti-gun laws and ordinances nationwide.
Over the course of time, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that most of the freedoms in the Bill of Rights must be respected by the states as well. By that method of reasoning the Chicago gun ban could not survive.
Last year, in the landmark case of District of Columbia v. Heller, the high court's five-member conservative majority threw out Washington, D.C.'s gun ban. In that D.C. decision the Court took a far more broader view of the Second Amendment that it had ever done before, maintaining that the Constitution codified "the individual right to possess and carry weapons" for self-defense. That was the intention of the original framers according to the court - and the understanding of the lawmakers who approved the 14th Amendment designed to protect constitutional rights against infringement by the states after the Civil War.
Second Amendment Foundation (S.A.F.) founder Alan Gottlieb said the case is of paramount importance to American citizens, to see that their constitutional rights are respected not only by the Congress, but by state and local governments.
"SAF was delighted to bring this case in cooperation with the Illinois State Rifle Association and the four local plaintiffs because a gun ban is no less onerous to civil right in Chicago than it was in the District of Columbia," Gottlieb observed. "Such a law cannot be allowed to stand unchallenged."
"The freedoms we enjoy as Americans are secured to us against violation by all levels of government," noted Alan Gura, of Gura & Possessky, PLLC, lead counsel for the McDonald plaintiffs. State and local politicians should be on notice: The Second Amendment is a normal part of the Bill of Rights, and it is coming to your town."
Chicago attorney David Sigale commented, "The City of Chicago cannot take from millions of Americans the fundamental freedom of self-defense in one's home. We are confident the Court will stand on the side of the law-abiding citizens and the Bill of Rights."
It is hard to believe that when the founders added the Bill of Rights to the Constitution they believed the Second Amendment Right, or any of the other unalienable rights therein, should stop at the state line or city limits as Chicago would claim.
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