Capitol - Your Illinois News Radar » This just in… Supremes rule on guns *** Daley suggests requring extensive insurance for handgun owners *** Rifle Association files suit against Chicago ban ***
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This just in… Supremes rule on guns *** Daley suggests requring extensive insurance for handgun owners *** Rifle Association files suit against Chicago ban ***

Thursday, Jun 26, 2008

*** I strongly recommend that you read this excellent SCOTUS Blog post and this one all the way through before commenting. Thanks. ***


* 9:51 am - This could get interesting

Chicago’s handgun ban, which has lasted for more than a quarter-century, came under threat Thursday when the Supreme Court decided that Washington D.C.’s law against handgun ownership is unconstitutional.

In a 5-4 decision, the high court determined that Americans have the right to own guns for self-defense as well as hunting. The decision, which had been expected, is a win for gun rights advocates and provides a better definition of the rights of Americans to own firearms.

Illinois gun-rights activists have said they expect to mount a quick legal challenge to the Chicago Weapons Ordinance.

It was the first time in nearly 70 years that the court had taken up broad questions about the 2nd Amendment’s protections of the right to bear arms. The city of Chicago, which has had its own ban on handgun ownership since 1982, had filed a brief with the court in support of the ban in January.

* 10:06 M -
The opinion can be read here.


Justice Scalia’s opinion stressed that the Court was not casting doubt on long-standing bans on carrying a concealed gun or on gun possession by felons or the mentally retarded, on laws barring guns from schools or government buildings, and laws putting conditions on gun sales.

* More

The Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home […]

The handgun ban and the trigger-lock requirement (as applied to self-defense) violate the Second Amendment. The District’s total ban on handgun possession in the home amounts to a prohibition on an entire class of “arms” that Americans overwhelmingly choose for the lawful purpose of self-defense. Under any of the standards of scrutiny the Court has applied to enumerated constitutional rights, this prohibition—in the place where the importance of the lawful defense of self, family, and property is most acute—would fail constitutional muster. Similarly, the requirement that any lawful firearm in the home be disassembled or bound by a trigger lock makes it impossible for citizens to use arms for the core lawful purpose of self-defense and is hence unconstitutional.”

* More from the opinion

Like most rights, the Second Amendment right is not unlimited. It is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose: For example, concealed weapons prohibitions have been upheld under the Amendment or state analogues. The Court’s opinion should not be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms. Miller’s holding that the sorts of weapons protected are those “in common use at the time” finds support in the historical tradition of prohibiting the carrying of dangerous and unusual weapons.

* Doesn’t this look a lot like legislating from the bench?

It is no answer to say, as petitioners do, that it is permissible to ban the possession of handguns so long as the possession of other firearms (i.e., long guns) is allowed. It is enough to note, as we have observed, that the American people have considered the handgun to be the quintessential self-defense weapon. There are many reasons that a citizen may prefer a handgun for home defense: It is easier to store in a location that is readily accessible in an emergency; it cannot easily be redirected or wrestled away by an attacker; it is easier to use for those without the upperbody strength to lift and aim a long gun; it can be pointed at a burglar with one hand while the other hand dials the police. Whatever the reason, handguns are the most popular weapon chosen by Americans for self-defense in the home, and a complete prohibition of their use is invalid.

* McCain reacts

U.S. Sen. John McCain said Thursday that the Supreme Court ruling in favor of gun ownership showed that the Chicago handgun ban has “infringed on the constitutional rights of Americans.”

The presumptive Republican presidential nominee called the ruling a “landmark victory for Second Amendment freedom in the United States.”

* Daley reacts

An angry Mayor Richard Daley on Thursday called the Supreme Court’s overturning of the Washington D.C. gun ban “a very frightening decision” and vowed to fight vigorously any challenges to Chicago’s ban.

*** 12:08 pm *** Mayor Daley has already come up with a way around the ban on handguns in the home: Require gun owners to carry extensive insurance.

*** 3:16 pm *** From the Illinois State Rifle Association home page

The Illinois State Rifle Association, together with Second Amendment Foundation and several individual plaintiffs, filed suit against the City of Chicago in federal court this morning at 9:15 CDT. More information will be made available in a statement from the attorneys tomorrow.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - ZC - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 9:56 am:

    Oh my goodness. Here comes the mother of all flame wars, no?

  2. - Siyotanka - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 9:58 am:

    Someone finally got it right…The Constitution lives on…

  3. - TheFray - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 9:59 am:

    I find it interesting that this opinion was penned by Scalia–the same Justice who recently told us he was willing to deny constitutional habeus rights because “more Americans will be killed” if we grant them. Apparently he has not followed the number of Chicagoans who have been shot to death this year.

  4. - Pat Collins - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 10:03 am:

    As an Illinoize poster mentions, the gun lock law is in trouble also.

  5. - Skeeter - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 10:04 am:

    You have to love this. The same people who denounce “activist judges, making law from the bench” just struck down a 36 year old law.

    Whether the decision was right or wrong (I haven’t read it yet), it sure is funny to see how conservatives try and bend the word “activist.”

  6. - Napoleon has left the building - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 10:05 am:

    Clearly a blow to those of us who believe that the right to live without being accidentally or intentionally shot is also in the constitution.

  7. - Gus Bode - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 10:09 am:

    Clearly you would rather live in an America where the constitution is cast aside. Besides your chances of getting shot will not change because the same people who should not have guns had them before and it will not get any easier for them to get one. So, if I were you I would buy a gun and practice, then if someone breaks into your home you can protect yourself.

  8. - District 49 - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 10:11 am:

    Footnote 23 of the courts ruling on page 48, at least it can be argued, shows the US Supreme Court will not overturn Chicago handgun ban.

  9. - Plutocrat03 - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 10:13 am:

    The incidence of gun possession by the criminal class is not related to whether there are gun laws in the communities they are in.

    The only people who are disarmed are the regular law abiding citizens who are preyed upon by the emboldened criminals.

    Chicago has abandoned many of its poorer neighborhoods for years, allowing open air drug markets and other criminal enterprises to flourish. When there is a lot of money at stake, it is no wonder that criminals elect to use violence to protect their ‘assets and property’

    I applaud the efforts of the new police chief to increase patrols and provide improved security for the residents who are victimized in their own home by the lawbreakers.

  10. - Phineas J. Whoopee - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 10:13 am:

    After the Chicago law is thrown out, what are they going to do for all the people who are now convicted felons for excercising their right to protect themselves in their home with a firearm.

    I am not sure why it took 36 years for the Supreme Court to protect the Constitution but it is about time.

  11. - Levois - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 10:14 am:

    One thing I have learned about our judges is that they’ve always been activists. Besides their job is to interpret the law anyway. Sometimes the judges get it right and sometimes they seem to create a law or a right out of the blue. In my opinion they got it right with this one. Owning a firearm is an individual right not a collective right. We have a right to defend ourselves and our property. As well as to be able to hunt.

    If those of you want to make this issue about safety and believe me I’m concerned about safety. I don’t want to get accidentally or intentionally shot either. But if your answer to that is to ban everyone (excluding criminals) from having a gun, especially if their normally responsible, then I get the feeling you’ll never feel safe about anything.

    Oh and I don’t want to talk about the police. I’m sure there are those of us out there who don’t trust police officer with guns and they might be the ones who accidentally shoot an innocent bystander. If you’re concerned about that what about them?

    Oh and just to bring this up, I hear that the former Alderman Dorothy Tillman. She was at a meeting and things got a little heated. All she had to do was brandish her weapon and things calm down. That’s probably one reason I wouldn’t trust an alderman with a gun while everyone else has to fend for themselves without one against a criminal who doesn’t care about gun control.

  12. - Six Degrees of Separation - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 10:14 am:


    The next time some mugger pulls a gun on me, I will calmly explain to him that his actions are illegal. He will then calmly put his gun away and seek a victim who does not have the same law-based objections that I do.

    Because laws perfectly instruct people’s behavior.

  13. - Ghost - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 10:14 am:

    interesting decision

    Napoleon I was not aware of a prohibition against accidents in the constitution; perhaps its in the figmentus ammendment?

    I do think this poses problems with the inherint right of the State to protect its citiznes with its police powers; and the citizens right to ovethrow the govt in the voting booth.

  14. - Huh? - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 10:15 am:

    TheFray said “… he has not followed the number of Chicagoans who have been shot to death this year.”

    Just one question - How many of those firearms were used by people who could not legally own and use firearms? In other words, how many criminals, were banned from owning a firearm, used the gun illegally? I would hazard a guess, nearly all of them.

    Please separate illegal ownership and misuse from the legal ownership and use of firearms.

    As an otherwise law abiding citizen, I ought to be able to own and use legal firearms in a legal law abiding manner.

  15. - Wumpus - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 10:16 am:

    The Fray..we all know how well Chicago’s strict gun laws have worked so far

  16. - Headline Deadline - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 10:20 am:

    “Supreme Court Shoots Down Gun Ban”

    The mother of all missed opportunities.

  17. - Legal Eagle - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 10:20 am:

    My early read is that this is a fairly moderate ruling based on the undeniable plain language of the Second Amendment. Partisans on both sides of the handgun issue will no doubt exaggerate its effects. But the ruling upholds 90% of existing gun regulations, and permits at least reasonable time, manner, place limitations on the Second Amendment, just like for the First Amendment. Only an absolute ban on possession of handguns in the home is struck down here. And even that can be regulated, just not banned. I don’t think it’s fair to criticize this ruling as “legislating” or “activism” by the Court.

  18. - Ghost - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 10:21 am:

    here is a fun statistic; 100% of School shootings by students have been performed with lawful weapons.

  19. - Steve - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 10:24 am:

    Since Chicago’s handgun ban was voted on and passed by Alderman Roti the “high ranking made member” of the Chicago Mob:Chicago’s gun ban may fall under RICO after the Family Secrets Trial convictions.

  20. - chiatty - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 10:25 am:

    You can thank George Bush for this bit of asinine jurisprudence, given that he has stacked the court with gun nuts and defenders of business at the expense of the victims of crime and the regular taxpayers. The original intention of the Constitution was to prevent cities from enacting controls on handguns???? Gimme a break. This is the conservative five on the Supreme Court making law, not interpreting it, to turn the conservative’s canard on its head. This decision was just as predictable (and just as wrongheaded) as Bush v. Gore.

  21. - wordslinger - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 10:32 am:

    Twenty years ago, this ruling would have upset me, but not now. It won’t change a thing on the street. The gun ban did nothing to take down gun violence, which is mostly gang and drug-related anyway, so they’re not too concerned about breaking the law. Blanket gun bans were just PR to make it look like something was being done.

    The only thing that seems to be effective in any way is to send the people who commit gun crimes to jail for a long time.

    What’s interesting is it looks like we have a hard, 4-4 Supreme Court split with Justice Kennedy as the decider.

  22. - fed up - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 10:45 am:


    And like Gore V Bush it is the correct ruling.

  23. - Ghost - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 10:46 am:

    Word your position is a little too simplistic for me.

    A gun ban does not reduce violence from criminals. BUT you have a pregnant conclusion that all gun violence is perpetrated by criminals. There are many domestic shootings and unfrotunate incidents with kids uysing lawful weapons that can increase without a ban. Just because a ban is not 100% effective does not mean it is ineffective.

    For example, the police do not catch all robbers; and most robbers are already criminals. The solution is not to make robbery lawful since we cant stop it all.

    It would be interesting to see a license system which required the owner to demosntrate a degree of comptenace/marksmenship in order to pass; similiar to what the Police have.

  24. - Plutocrat03 - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 10:46 am:

    I’m hoping Ghost missed a syllable in his statement.

    At the time these crimes were committed any handgun was illegal. How did that help control the violence?

    As far as being an activist decision, I disagree. The problem of activist judges is that they make up rights. Such is the case of extending habeas rights to combatants captured in a foreign country. US courts should not be a venue for this. This is not the case with the interpretation of the constitution. The shame is that it took 36 years to restore the rights of citizens.

  25. - VanillaMan - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 10:50 am:

    Activist judges make laws where none previously existed. When judges strike down unconstitutional laws, they are not making laws - so are not activist judges.

    Got that?

    The Supreme Court didn’t outlaw gun regulations. It didn’t allow criminals to get guns either. It doesn’t even allow gun owners to carry their handgun in public, unless there is a law allowing it.

    So what they said was simple. You cannot deny lawful citizens their lawful right to lawfully protect themselves in their homes.

    Why would anyone have a problem with that?

  26. - trafficmatt - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 10:50 am:

    Skeeter - Since you were begging for it, let me give you the response you were wanting.

    Conservatives, like myself, have decried judicial activism - you are right. I completely applaud this decision by the courts. You asked, how can conservatives reconcile these two.

    The difference is in this case, the Constitution makes an affirmative, specific and clear statement about the rights of gun owners. Many have tried, unsuccessfully for years to try and re-interpret the 2nd Amendment. The Court, in their decision today, put history back in its proper place and looked at the thought process leading up to the 2nd Amendment, which had everything to do with citizenry being able to defend themselves. Most anti-2nd amendment folks want to re-interpret the 2nd Amendment to be only about having a gun to shoot little bunnies. That’s not what it says.

    Many cases of “judicial activism” takes sweeping statements such as the equal protection clause in the 14th Amendment (written specifically about the abolishment of slavery), and re-interpret it for a host of other cases such as same-sex marriage.

    When the courts rule that a law, which clearly is put in place as an affront to a specific, and clearly written portion of the Consitution, it is not judicial activism.

  27. - Greg - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 10:51 am:

    In both Chicago and DC, you’d still face an arduous registration process to legally possess a handgun. I don’t see it changing much in either city.

  28. - Levois - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 10:52 am:

    Heh, I read that Bush actually wanted to be sure that the SCOTUS wouldn’t unravel all gun laws that prevented people from owning a machine gun or kept a felon from owning a weapon. Now if you want to make this about right vs. left to me this is about so much more than right vs. left. To me it’s about rights and I won’t subscribe to this idea that I have to cast aside the constitution in the ever dirty war between right vs. left. Like it or not the judges are activists and they interpret the law. And the court isn’t making law in this case, they just struck down another law which is their duty in the first place.

  29. - Six Degrees of Separation - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 10:58 am:

    Most gun owners acknowledge the state’s right to “regulate” the ownership of guns so long as their rights to possess and use them in a law-abiding manner are preserved. I haven’t seen too many “The West Wasn’t Won With a Registered Gun” bumperstickers lately.

    In the letter and spirit of the 2nd Amendment, I can foresee a process such as Greg 10:51 being upheld as reasonable, should it also be put to a SC test based on the “original intent” of the framers. I also see no threat to the state’s right to prevent possession of firearms by felons, mentally incapacitated, etc. as part of the “well regulated” public militia.

  30. - Ghost - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 11:01 am:

    Pluto I live in a city without a ban and we have gun violence from lawful weapons :) Word was commenting he is not bothered by the lifting of the ban in chicago, and i was basically saying just cause its bad now don’t think it won’t get worse.

    The vast majority of Illinois currently has no ban, and plenty of lawful weapons used in domestic incidents.

  31. - Skeeter - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 11:02 am:


    Don’t be ridiculous.

    The Constitution is also pretty clear about free speech, religious intrusion into government, the right to vote, and right to counsel. On all of those issues, the “conservatives” have upheld laws limiting rights or putting barriers in place.

    While I’m not saying the court was wrong in this decision, I am saying that the court is activist.

    You Republicans talk a lot about ethics and morality. It is time to be honest. Admit it. Say “sure this was activist, but we like the result so it is OK.:

  32. - Anonymous - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 11:03 am:

    This is not the end of the gun debate but only the beginning. Now the issue is going to be how much the right to own guns can be regulated, and how the exceptions to that right should be applied or interpreted. This has been the case with other hugely controversial issues like abortion, the death penalty and affirmative action and I anticipate it will be the same with gun rights.

  33. - trafficmatt - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 11:05 am:


    “The original intention of the Constitution was to prevent cities from enacting controls on handguns????”

    Yes - it was.

    I know a lot of people don’t like to hear this, but if you go back to the original intention of the 2nd Amendment, it is far more sweeping than that. The original intention was to allow citizens to rise up against an oppresive government. The use of the word militia in the 2nd Amendment is just that - a group of citizens could form into a militia to rise up against their government. Granted, I’m not for a minute arguing for a governmental rebellion, but that was the original intention. The original intention was for citizens to protect themselves.

    You and others might not like the ruling, I understand that. You might look at the opinion by Breyer, which tried to argue that law should be made so that people have the right not to get shot. Ummmmm, can you point that out in the Constitution Justice Breyer? I agree that people should expect not to get shot, but the role of a Justice is to rule against the Constitution, not to rule on imaginary rights against what is clearly written in an approved and ratified Constitution.

  34. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 11:07 am:

    trafficmatt, and others, there is no broad agreement whatsoever on what, exactly, the 2nd Amendment says, so please don’t act like there is.

  35. - Speaking At Will - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 11:11 am:

    I have a hard time understanding how anyone could look at facts and not come to the conclusion that handgun bans do not work.

    As everyone knows, the city of Chicago has the tightest gun control laws on the books anywhere in the nation. With that in mind consider the follwing.

    Iraq War Deaths Chicago Homicides

    2003 - 486 2003 - 598
    2004 - 849 2004 - 448
    2005 - 846 2005 - 449
    2006 - 822 2006 - 452
    2007 - 902 2007 - 435

    3905 total 2382 total

    One is a war zone, the other is the most tightly gun regulated city in America.

  36. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 11:11 am:

    Also, by using the argument that handguns are popular and should therefore be allowed, the majority is clearly legislating from the bench. The result may or may not be activist, but much of the language of the opinion clearly is.

  37. - trafficmatt - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 11:13 am:


    No, I kind of like it the way that I said it, thank you.

    On your list of topics such as religious separation, free speech, etc., you might want to look up the genesis of such phrases as “wall of separation”, etc., many of which are not found in the constituion as many think they are, but were added in decisions by Supreme Court Justices, but are now parrotted as though they are actually found in the Constituion.

    By the way, saying things like “don’t be ridiculous” are fun to say, but let’s talk about issues instead of making a sweeping statement when you don’t like my opinion. Defend your points by intellect instead of flame statements.

  38. - TimB - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 11:13 am:

    “Heh, I read that Bush actually wanted to be sure that the SCOTUS wouldn’t unravel all gun laws that prevented people from owning a machine gun……….”

    Levois, you are aware that Federal law does not “prevent” people from owning a machine gun?? In fact, in approx 38 states, civilian ownership of fully automatic firearms is allowed. KY and IN being the closest.


  39. - True Observer - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 11:15 am:

    The World waits for Obama to step up.

    How long does it take to do the focus group?

  40. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 11:18 am:

    Speaking At Will, that is a totally, completely ridiculous comparison. What about all those Iraqis who have died?

    Your logic is horrid.

    Think of soldiers in Iraq as police, not as civilians. Then make the comparison. If that many cops were getting shot in Chicago, what would you say?

    Now, move along and don’t make another stupid argument like that here again. Thanks.

  41. - Leave a light on George - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 11:18 am:

    I am not a member of the militia. I am not a crook. I have a valid FOID card. I am not a “gun nut.”I also keep a loaded .40 cal handgun in my home for self defense. I am proficient in its use. Someone please tell me why in Washington DC and Chicago, IL I would be considered a dangerous person in need of being arrested.

  42. - Greg - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 11:18 am:

    The debate over activism is very much a party-line one, and one that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me. As a libertarian, as a general rule, I support deference to individual rights–against federal, state, and local power.

    I think Skeeter’s right to the extent that almost everyone cares exclusively about the outcome of decisions, not the logic with which they’re written. I admit to that truth.

  43. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 11:21 am:

    LALOG, the same could be said of a whole lot of laws, not just those gun laws, so try to stick to the opinion.

    That’s a warning for everybody. Stick to the opinion at hand, not your canned talking points. If you want to just spew talking points, go somewhere else.

  44. - True Observer - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 11:22 am:

    Ususally Presidents decide on judges.

    Now the Judges are going to decide the President.

    With the child rape case and now gun rights, Obama may well name Roberts and Alito as the kind of judges he will appoint.

    He may as well have said it on the child rape case.

    He may even go on record supporting this gun rights decision

  45. - Skeeter - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 11:23 am:


    Let me get this right: Striking down a law on discrimination as in violation of equal protection: Bad Activist.

    Strike down a law on guns: Good, not activist.

    Is that really your point?

  46. - Leave a light on George - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 11:30 am:

    Rich I think the whole point of the opinion is that 2nd amendment is for people just like me.

  47. - ChampaignDweller - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 11:38 am:

    I understood the decision to be based, in part, on what the framers of the Constitution were thinking when they drafted this–that guns used for hunting and self-protection were covered, not that handguns are popular.

  48. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 11:39 am:

    ===not that handguns are popular.===

    From the decision…

    ===Whatever the reason, handguns are the most popular weapon chosen by Americans for self-defense in the home, and a complete prohibition of their use is invalid.===

  49. - Amuzing Myself - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 11:41 am:


    On your school shooting analogy, you’re flat wrong. Just look at Columbine. Where did those guns come from? They belonged to a parent. When they were in the parent’s possession, they were legal, when they were taken by the kids that used them, they were stolen.

    As for the ruling itself, I think it’s more significant that The Court found the need to address this at all, after so many years of no comment on the subject. They obviously saw some trend or problem they didn’t like for them to want to take up the case at all. I’d be more interested in that reasoning than in the opinion itself. Perhaps they thought the bans were coming too frequent and were too expansive?

  50. - wordslinger - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 11:42 am:

    Ghost, I think it’s clear that the DC gun ban was an attempt to keep guns from criminals and not to prevent use of guns in domestic violence or avoid gun accidents.

    Let me go out on a limb here and state that I’m against gun violence. It just seems that the bans are not a particularly effective tool. Let’s work the other ideas that may be effective a little harder — drug education and intervention, more opportunities for young inner-city men, and continued hard time for gun criminals.

    Lot of people on all points of the the political spectrum favor legalizing drugs as a method to curb gun violence. I’m wary of going there, but you have to admit, after the repeal of Prohibition, gang violence in the cities went way down.

    And for the record, I never have and never will own a gun. Too much of a klutz. A Louisville Slugger is my home protection weapon of choice.

  51. - Healthcare Worker - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 11:43 am:

    Many have argued that the 2nd amendment ONLY applies to long guns since that is what was available back then.

    The comments about handguns just “modernizes” the amendment to fit current trends in gun ownership.

  52. - Ghost - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 11:46 am:

    but if you are “modernizing” the consitutin are you not in effect legislating from the bench? after all we technically have a legislature. Perhaps the legislature should be the ones to modernize laws if the language is out of date, and not our judges.

    The whole consitution is a living document is just the perspective to rewrite laws in the image of the court. It would have been better if the ocurt found the law was outdated and did not apply and invited the legislature to either ammend the constitution or pass new laws if the need to modernize gun ownership existed.

    The court abandoned legal interpretation to redraft the law in its vision of a modern gun law.

  53. - Greg - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 11:48 am:

    But we can apply the 1st Amndt to the internet, right?

  54. - Anonymous45 - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 11:49 am:

    What about home rule municipalities?…does this ruling pre-empt this?

  55. - wordslinger - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 11:50 am:

    Healthcare Worker, handguns, in the form of pistols, had been around long before the drafting of the Constitution and were a fairly common firearm of that era.

    Just ask Alexander Hamilton.

  56. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 11:55 am:

    Yeah, HW, that was a bit weird. Try Google before your next post.

  57. - Carl Nyberg - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 11:56 am:

    What is Daley trying to accomplish if he’s fighting against a clear-cut SCOTUS ruling?

  58. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 12:03 pm:

    ===a clear-cut SCOTUS ruling===

    It’s not that clear-cut yet. It’s clear about the DC ban, but from what I gather from my surfing there’s a disagreement about how this impacts other state and local laws and what can be done to get around the ruling.

  59. - Greg - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 12:05 pm:

    Daley ought to be happy with the decision. Everyone knew there were at least 5 votes against the ban, but this decision was explicit in its inapplication to most restrictions. The firearms hurdle in Chicago is licensing and registration, and that will be intact.

  60. - Pro-Gunner - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 12:10 pm:

    The U.S. Supreme Court has spoken. The “gun prohibitionists” have lost the battle. Now, let’s work together to enforce the existing gun ownership laws directed at illegal gun possession and usage. This will be my last post.

  61. - Skeeter - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 12:29 pm:

    That’s not clear at all. I haven’t finished reading the opinion yet, but it sure seems that most gun nuts are not going to like it. Some regulations are definitely allowed.

    What does seem clear is that Scalia had to work to get Justice Kennedy to sign off on it. It looks like they had 3-4 strong, and then there was Kennedy who could have gone either way.

  62. - enrico depressario - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 12:32 pm:

    The mayor’s idea has a fatal flaw—gang bangers don’t buy insurance, but they have all the guns.

  63. - Greg - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 12:38 pm:

    Since the court directs DC to allow the plaintiff a license, should he qualify, I think we can assume that registration is permissable.

  64. - Legal Eagle - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 12:39 pm:

    Under this decision you can ‘regulate’ the private possession of handguns in the home for self-defense; you just can’t ban it altogether. That’s what the 2d Amendment says: “well-regulated militia” (the citizenry then); and “right to bear arms”. Licensing, insurance, training, child-safety locks, etc., in my view, can and should still be required. And convicted felons can still lose any such rights. In that sense the decision upholds 95% of existing gun regulation.

  65. - Bookworm - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 12:39 pm:

    This decision could do for gun ownership what Roe vs. Wade did for abortion, or what Furman/Gregg vs. Georgia did for the death penalty.
    In other words, the basic right has been declared; now the question is how far the government can regulate it and what restrictions will be considered justified or unduly burdensome.
    The future composition of the court and the nature of future cases will determine whether that right ends up being broadened (as with abortion) or restricted (as with the death penalty).
    If the court ends up going down the Roe track on this, all those restrictions that allegedly were upheld in this decision will be interpreted in the future in such a way as to render them ineffective or easily evaded in most cases.
    So we could still end up with virtually unrestricted gun ownership the same way we have ended up with virtual abortion on demand despite Roe, as written, allowing considerable restrictions.
    Or if the court follows the path it’s been taking on the death penalty, gun ownership rights will be considerably narrowed as the ability of states to impose the death penalty has been and continues to be narrowed (like in the child rape case ruling yesterday).
    Whichever route the court takes, the debate is just getting warmed up and this will become a hotter issue than ever.

  66. - I'm Anonymous! - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 12:42 pm:

    Completely by chance, I am currently reading “Scalia Dissents”.

    I am still digesting both the book and the decision, but I believe the reason he refers to the popularity of handguns to protect the home is within the historical context of the existence of handguns, (though they were flintlock?)at the time the Constitution was written.

    The author describes him as a “textualist” meaning the document means what it says- When I read the 2nd, I THINK I know what it means. I also know that other people who disagree think the same thing.

    The fact that Scalia seems to use historical context of the 1700’s to interpret the 2nd does not surprise me in the least.

  67. - Greg - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 12:46 pm:

    My prediction is that nationally, this ruling will be anticlimatic. Despite the obligatory Scalia wit, it strikes me as quite a moderate opinion that will have little effect, if any, beyond DC and possibly Chicago. It’s a big moral win for some, of course. But I don’t see gun control as a major issue in this election, particularly given Obama’s shift on the subject.

    This is coming from someone who cares about the issue (and other personal liberties) terribly, by the way.

  68. - 618er - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 12:50 pm:

    Was this ruling about carrying guns in the street or having one in the home for self protection…. Am I or is Mayor Daley confused?
    I love how he starts out saying he has nothing against hunters, but 5 minutes of that rant… wow.

  69. - Skeeter - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 1:01 pm:

    Scalia is always a class act, isn’t he? While so many judges talk about civility, he describes the dissent as “grotesque”,”bizarre”, “wholly unsupported”,”profoundly mistaken”, “flatly misreads”

    Odd language about “confrontation” — impliciation that if used only for hunting, can be barred?

    As noted above, the most interesting language is from FN 23: “Our later decisions in Presser v. Illinois, 116 U. S. 252, 265 (1886) and Miller v. Texas, 153 U. S. 535, 538 (1894), reaffirmed
    that the Second Amendment applies only to the Federal Government.”

    Does that mean the states can do what they want?

    More language: “We think that limitation is fairly supported by the historical tradition
    of prohibiting the carrying of “dangerous and unusual weapons.”

    Looks like any bans on assault weapons will be OK.

  70. - Rebel13 - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 1:09 pm:

    The firearms hurdle in Chicago is licensing and registration, and that will be intact.

    There is no registration being accepted in the city of Chicago. You had to register the handgun prior to 1983 and had to re-register it every year after. This is the part that will be looked at by this ruling.

  71. - Kevin Highland - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 1:11 pm:

    Reasonable Restrictions can be a scary phrase.

    That aside I’m glad that the SCOTUS has affirmed that the 2nd Amendment is an individual right. If licensing is required that is fine. Now the important question, When was the last time Chicago issued/granted a Handgun License?

  72. - Anonymous - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 1:14 pm:

    Let’s see, we have an unpopular war going on, rising gas prices and inflation, an unpopular GOP president whom some want to see impeached, a Democratic governor who promised to rock the system but is now at war with his own party and with Mayor Daley, and to top it all off, a highly controversial Supreme Court decision. If I weren’t sitting in front of a computer right now I’d think I’d time warped back to the early 70s :)

  73. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 1:14 pm:

    ===This is the part that will be looked at by this ruling.===

    There’s more to it than that. Much more. As the SCOTUS Blog post linked at the very top points out, it’s not at all clear whether or not this ruling even applies to states and municipalities. This is not a well-written opinion, to say the least. It’s terribly vague, and those vagueries appear deliberately designed to attract the needed 5 votes.

    From the SCOTUS Blog post…

    ===Note also the not-so-gentle chide of Justice Stevens at the conclusion of his dissent that majority was engaged in judicial activism and causing the courts to embark on a case by case determination of what gun laws will & will not survive.===

    Despite all the heated rhetoric, this decision appears to have settled nothing except the DC ban.

  74. - Bud Man - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 1:23 pm:

    –there is no broad agreement whatsoever on what, exactly, the 2nd Amendment says, so please don’t act like there is.–

    Rich, I’m going to take issue with that statement. The SC ruling did clarify that an individual right to own a firearm does exist in the 2nd Amendment. There was no SC history that addresses this issue, and therefore, the Court did in fact provide an agreement that the 2nd Amendmnet says an individual, not a collective, right exists. So althought the agreement isn’t broad (a 5 to 4 decision) there is now an agreement and precedent. No one can now succesfully argue that an individual right does not exist in the 2nd.

    Also, prior to this ruling, there has been a growing consensus over the last decade amongst constitutional scholars and law professors that an individual right exists. The language of the 2nd Amendment lends itself to no other intellectually honest conclusion.

    Had the justices proclaimed a collective right out of the language, that would have been activist, because the langugage does not lend itslef to that conclusion. As Scalia said in the opinion, had the Court adopted Stephens position in the dissent, it would have led to a,

    “manufacture [of] a hybrid definition, whereby “bear arms” connotes the actual carrying of arms (and therefore is not really an idiom) but only in the service of an organized militia. No dictionary has ever adopted that definition, and we have been apprised of no source that indicates that it carried that meaning at the time of the founding. But it is easy to see why petitioners and the dissent are driven to the hybrid definition. Giving “bear Arms” its idiomatic meaning would cause the protected right to consist of the right to be a soldier or to wage war—an absurdity that no commentator has ever endorsed.”

    ===Also, by using the argument that handguns are popular and should therefore be allowed, the majority is clearly legislating from the bench. The result may or may not be activist, but much of the language of the opinion clearly is.===

    I would argue that this is not judicial activism because they were using this example in relation to the precedent derived from Miller. The opinion states,

    “We may as well consider at this point (for we will have to consider eventually) what types of weapons Miller permits. . . We think that Miller’s ‘ordinary military equipment’ language must be read in tandem with what comes after: ‘[O]rdinarily when called for [militia] service [able-bodied] men were expected to appear bearing arms supplied by themselves and of the kind in COMMON USE at the time.’ (capital emphasis added) The traditional militia was formed from a pool of men bringing arms ‘in common use at the time’ for lawful purposes like self-defense. ‘In the colonial and revolutionary war era, [small-arms] weapons used by militiamen and weapons used in defense of person and home were one and the same.’ . . . We therefore read Miller to say only that the Second Amendment does not protect those weapons not typically possessed by law-abiding citizensfor lawful purposes, such as short-barreled shotguns.” (pg. 52-53 of opinion)

    The Court then goes on to say that handguns are in common use at this time and they have a legitmate and lawfull use as a self-defense weapon in the home. The legitimate and common use of a handgun in a home derives from the fact that they are more compact, easier to navigate in the confines of a home due to the lack of a long barrell, harder to rest from the homeowner’s control, as well as the ability to use a gun in one hand while dialing the police on the other, among other traits. I would argue it is not activism if they are basing the opinion on a careful, logical, and consistent reading of language, intent, and precendent, which is what was done here.

  75. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 1:30 pm:

    Bud Man, I would respond by saying the consensus you claim is only in certain circles. It’s not broad, by any means. The 2nd Amendment appears to have been written so that it could be interpreted in several different ways - likely a vote-getting device. People have argued about comma placements for a century…

    A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

  76. - Bud Man - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 1:33 pm:

    ===it’s not at all clear whether or not this ruling even applies to states and municipalities.===

    Very true Rich. The Chicago gun ban will probably have to work its way to the SCOTUS before that question is resolved. Scalia indictaes in the footnotes that these non-federal bans may be constitutional if the 2nd isn’t incorporated to the states. This one is not over. It only resolved two real questions:

    (1) Does the 2nd Amendment prohibit the federal government from banning the ownership of a common use weapon?

    (2) Is a handgun a common use weapon?

    Next up is, can the state of Illinois or the city of Chicago ban ownership of a common use handgun through arbitrary and capricious enforcement of a licensing requirement? We’ll see.

  77. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 1:37 pm:

    Besides the state and local ban questions, add this…

    3) Is a semi-automatic, large-clipped handgun with a laser pointer a “common use weapon”?

    4) Is a 50mm handgun a “common use weapon”?

    5) ad infinitum

    This is really not a well-written decision. It forces a whole lot more litigation and USSCt opinions.

  78. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 1:49 pm:

    Also, wouldn’t it be fair to say that “common use” varies from region to region? Are we going to get into local standards arguments?

  79. - Gun Guy - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 1:59 pm:

    I typically am a reader not a poster on this blog. However, as a hunter I am very happy with this ruling. I will never understand the rationale of people that think that a law abiding citizen can’t own a firearm. While, Chicago’s murder rate has declined over the years, in relative terms its still a violent city. Yet, Chicago has some of the most strict gun laws in the country. I am always fascinated when legislators argue in favor of draconian gun legislation. To me its so simple its bordering on absurdly obvious that gun control doesn’t stop crime.

  80. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 2:09 pm:

    Gun Guy, I really don’t think this opinion is as positive for your position as you may believe. Read those two SCOTUS Blog posts linked at the top. Much is unsettled, including Chicago’s ordinance.

  81. - Bud Man - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 2:13 pm:

    ===Also, wouldn’t it be fair to say that “common use” varies from region to region? Are we going to get into local standards arguments?===

    I would agree and with that. I have known many citizens of Alaska who have sawed-off shotguns, in violation of the federal ban. They have these because they are a legitimate self-defense weapon against a charging bear and moose. What is legitimate in one part of the country might not be legtimate in another.

    Eventually, I think we will have to have the standards vary from region to region. This opened a can of worms, I agree. But it is a good thing that has been long overdue.

  82. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 2:16 pm:

    OK, then since Chicago bans handguns and as a result those weapons are relatively scarce in Chicago, then by the regional standards reasoning Chicago ought to be able to keep its handgun ban?

    This opinion settled nothing.

  83. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 2:17 pm:

    By the way, the same went for that goofy pornography ruling. Regional standards meant you could block a porn movie from showing in rural Iowa, but not in NYC.

  84. - True Observer - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 2:25 pm:

    “OK, then since Chicago bans handguns and as a result those weapons are relatively scarce in Chicago, then by the regional standards reasoning Chicago ought to be able to keep its handgun ban?”

    Not so fast.

    It’s the ruling class that has imposed these gun restrictions on Chicagoans.

    If there were a vote, there would be overwhelming support for gun rights.

    As to why the citizens don’t do away with the ruling class, that is another story.

  85. - Kevin Fanning - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 2:26 pm:

    ===If there were a vote, there would be overwhelming support for gun rights.===

    Wanna bet?

  86. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 2:29 pm:

    ===If there were a vote, there would be overwhelming support for gun rights.===

    In Chicago? Are you out of your mind? Name the last pro-gun candidate to win Chicago by an overwhelming margin.

    That’s absolute nonsense.

    You speak of the “ruling class” as if there were no elections. Democracy ain’t so hot in Chicago, I’ll give you that, but solidly pro-gun incumbents in Chicago are few and far between, if there are any.

  87. - Bud Man - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 2:33 pm:

    ===This opinion settled nothing.===

    It is but a starting point. Those SCOTUS blog pieces are excellent and show the need for more litigation. It would have been irresponsible for the Court to attempt to answer every question surrounding the issue without briefs or arguments. And even if they did, it would not have been a holding but mere dicta, and would still have led to more litigation.

  88. - True Observer - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 2:33 pm:

    “Wanna bet?”

    Once upon a time, Her Honoress the Mayor decided to take up residence in Cabrini Green.

    The proposal was to clean sweep the place and get rid of all firearms.

    You never heard a bigger din made by the residents and their champions, the liberal elite, toiling in their ivory towers and living in the equivalent of gated communities.

    What does it say that the lawful authorities, i.e. the aldermen, lawfully have guns and the citizens dont?

    Even better, Mr. Change has today decided that he too supports the public’s right to bear arms.

    Signed, sealed, delivered.

  89. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 2:39 pm:

    TO, you’ve changed the subject. Let’s get back to the subject you broached: Chicagoans overwhelmingly support the handgun ban. They’ve proved it time and time again at the ballot box.

    You lose this argument because you have no case.

    Also, Chicago aldermen have been sworn officers of the peace forever. That’s why they are allowed to carry guns. Few do. but this “duty” goes back a long way.

  90. - Bud Man - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 2:48 pm:

    It would be interesting to see the results of well done poll of Chicago residents with the following question:

    “Do you support the right of lawful citizens to own and keep handguns in their home for the purpose of self-defense?”

    I doubt the results would be overwhelming one way or the other, but I would not be surprised if a majority answered “Yes”. The widespread violence and the inability of the police department to control it may have chnaged people’s minds on this one.

    Just because there are no pro-gun candidates does not mean the citizens are not pro-gun. The Dem machine prevents these type of candidates from advancing in the system.

  91. - Leave a light on George - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 2:49 pm:

    Who is going to remind Alderman Mell to register his gun AND pay his insurance premium?

  92. - Skeeter - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 3:02 pm:


    You must not be from Chicago.

    There is no “widespread violence.” Chicago definitely has violence, but for the most part, it is only in certain neighborhoods. As somebody who’s lived in Chicago for 20 years, I can honestly say that I don’t spend much time thinking about violence.

    Further, I’m pretty content with the job that the CPD is doing. Sure there are some problems, but that is inevitable in any large organization.
    Ultimately, without taking into consideration the constitutional grounds, I would like to see fewer guns on the street. There’s no need for them where I live, and my concern would be that some idiot tourist is going to panic because and African American comes too close and start shooting. I’m not making that up. I am far more concerned about idiot tourists than about gangbangers.

    One final note: This idea that guns will protect against muggers is laughable. My GSD was attacked by two dogs about a year ago (I was bit by one of the dogs, and the other attacked my dog). As a result, at my dog trainer’s suggestion, I started carrying a version of pepper spray with me when I walk the dog. I haven’t had to use it yet, but I can tell you that pulling it out and getting ready to use it when I’ve seen apparently hostile dogs approaching is a challenge. If it is tough to pull out pepper spray to stop a dog, I have a hard time believing that most people could competently use a gun to stop a person pointing a gun at them.

  93. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 3:09 pm:

    ===Just because there are no pro-gun candidates does not mean the citizens are not pro-gun. The Dem machine prevents these type of candidates from advancing in the system.===


    There are statewide candidates, too. Remember Glenn Poshard?

  94. - Steve - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 3:23 pm:

    This ruling opens us future litigation on the means of Article One Section 22 of the Illinois State Constitution which guarantees individuals the right to bear arms “subject only to police powers”.Does “subject only to police powers” mean only Chicago’s SOS unit or former Chief of Detectives William Hanhardt can own a gun in Chicago? One thing is for sure the legal bill for Chicago’s defense of banning guns will be quite large.

  95. - VanillaMan - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 3:30 pm:

    Skeeter, your ideology may be blinding your ability to read and apply logic.

    As I had said:
    Activist judges make laws where none previously

    So your diatribe is nonsense. Calling a judge you disagree with a “piece of work” isn’t raising the tone of our discussion, and adds nothing. Calling those who agree with this ruling “gun nuts” shows a lack of respect to those who understand the questions being addressed by the ruling today.

    Perhaps you should consider changing your name to “Screecher”, because that is how your posting have been sounding on this particular issue.

    You wrote:
    ==Let me get this right: Striking down a law on discrimination as in violation of equal protection: Bad Activist.

    Strike down a law on guns: Good, not activist.

    Is that really your point? ==

    You just don’t understand, and your posting clearly display this - as well as the contempt you seem to have to those who do understand, or are at least willing to listen and read.

  96. - Skeeter - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 3:32 pm:

    By the way — Bud’s questioning showed something about his perspective — “lawful citizens.”

    Is Bud concerned that legal aliens are going to get guns? Sounds like our friend Bud has a complex right wing agenda.

  97. - Skeeter - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 3:41 pm:

    Vanilla Man,

    Where did I refer to Scalia as a “piece of work”? I might THINK of him as a piece of something, but I would never put that here, due to fear of banishment. I don’t even think I used the word “gun nuts” today, although I would have to review the posts. I have used that in the past, I admit.

    Further, you really ought to read what I WROTE, as opposed to what you EXPECTED me to say. My posts make pretty clear that I don’t have a constitutional position on the issue.

    Read what I wrote. I ripped parts of the opinion, but never the ultimate conclusion. It is a rude and poorly crafted opinion. Whether the ultimate decision is right or wrong is something I have yet to decide.

    For all your talk, your last post was nothing but a personal attack on me. That’s not necessarily a bad thing (I’ve heard far worse, usually from my wife) but if you are going to attack me, you really should first read my work and comment on that. “YOU ARE WRONG” sure doesn’t do much to advance your issue.

  98. - Bud Man - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 3:41 pm:

    ===Remember Glenn Poshard?===

    Hardly a machine candidate. I was strictly speaking of Chicago and Cook County pols, not statewide. There are plenty of downstate Dems who support gun rights. It’s the Chicago candidates who would not make it very far in that system (read: machine) if they were publicly pro-gun.

    And I’m not saying that citizens of Chicago would support handgun ownership, just that I would be interested to see some recent poll results on the issue.

  99. - True Observer - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 3:43 pm:

    “By the way — Bud’s questioning showed something about his perspective — “lawful citizens.”

    Is Bud concerned that legal aliens are going to get guns? Sounds like our friend Bud has a complex right wing agenda.”

    Boy the left is so paranoid.

    Anyone thinking person could see that he was using shorthand to omit the mentally impaired and the convicted felons.

  100. - Skeeter - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 3:43 pm:

    I stand corrected. I did use the term “gun nuts.” I wrote that they would not like this opinion. I expect that once they read it, they probably won’t, so I stand on my prior comment.

  101. - Skeeter - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 3:45 pm:


    Then why use the term “citizens” — how about
    “lawful persons”?

    Tne intent was pretty clear, but it really doesn’t matter.

  102. - Bud Man - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 3:52 pm:

    ===I would like to see fewer guns on the street.===

    Me too, Skeeter. This issue has nothing to do with guns on the street and has everything to do with guns in the homes of law abiding citizens. A huge difference that anti-gun activists will conveniently forget to mention.

    Illinois has not enacted a conceal-carry law (yet), so there is no basis for your outrageous concerns. The tourists? This is about keeping handguns in the home for the defense of you and your family’s life, liberty, and property.

    And no, I’m not from Chicago, but I do remember reading about how the violence is soooo bad in the city that Daley began to arm regular officers with M-4 assault rifles. Yeah, sounds like everything is hunky dorey up there.

  103. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 3:52 pm:

    Let’s not try to read too much into other peoples’ comments. There’s enough to debate without that. Thanks.

  104. - True Observer - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 3:53 pm:

    “Then why use the term “citizens” — how about
    “lawful persons”?”

    Websters hasn’t picked up lawful persons yet.

  105. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 3:54 pm:

    Bud Man, it’s not like every neighborhood is under siege. Chicago is mostly a decent place to live.

  106. - Bud Man - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 4:04 pm:

    Thanks Vanilla. That is exaclty what I meant. It was not my intent to inject into the discussion the meaning of citizen as it pertains to permanent resident aliens. That is quite a stretch Skeet.

  107. - 618er - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 4:11 pm:

    Wow this issue has got some people fired up, and good dialog is good for all of us, but come on.

    Both sides seem to be forgetting a couple of key points, 1 this will only immediately impact DC, although the ILRA is filing against Chicago I see.

    The second and probably broadest is that this ruling doesn’t negate the fact that people are still ACCOUNTABLE for their actions.

    You will be questioned/investigated in a situation where you defend your property or life whether it is with Louisville Slugger, Taylor Made, Smith & Wesson, or a spoon.

  108. - Justice - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 4:20 pm:

    I’m happy with the ruling. I don’t care if it is activist or right wing. I can now enjoy the fact that my AK47 and several handguns are okay to have in my home. I’m tired of the threat by killer rabbits and the occasional criminal wannabe. Now….on to conceal carry!

  109. - Frosty Da Snowman - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 4:25 pm:

    Hey Miller…your chance to be a hero. Why not use this opportunity to broker peace between the gun guys and the gun grabbers so we can all move on to more important issues?

  110. - johnnyc - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 4:33 pm:


    “The original intention was to allow citizens to rise up against an oppresive government. The use of the word militia in the 2nd Amendment is just that - a group of citizens could form into a militia to rise up against their government. ”

    You fail to take into consideration what the plain meaning of miltia was at the time of construction. Militia were state sponsored military forces and a part of the government. I’m not saying that the right doesn’t exist (the opinion does of good job of laying out the construction of the sentance), however, the use of the term militia was not referencing what we think of today as miltias (the goofballs in Michigan).

  111. - trafficmatt - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 4:52 pm:


    You are not correct entirely. Militias were local groups of citizens. Most of them were volunteer forces. In general, in pre-revolutionary war days, they helped to defend cities against indian attacks. Most of them were loosely formulated. They were not, as you kind of hint at, like state armies.

  112. - wordslinger - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 4:58 pm:

    Again, looks like we have two Gangs of Four and Justice Kennedy as the decider.

    For Supreme Court watchers, here’s a handy list for reference. Food for thought for the upcoming presidential election as well (although GOP presidents are inordinately surprised by their choices, a la Ike with Brennan and Warren).

    Kennedy, 71 (Reagan)

    Gang of Four I
    Roberts, 53 (Bush II)
    Scalia, 72 (Reagan)
    Thomas, 60 (Bush I)
    Alito, 58 (Bush II)

    Gang of Four II
    Stevens, 88 (Ford)
    Souter, 68 (Bush I)
    Ginsburg, 75 (Clinton)
    Breyer, 69 (Clinton)

  113. - Amy - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 5:17 pm:

    well, here’s hoping the judges recognize consistency and that
    they are as liberal with reproductive choice laws as they are with gun laws that allow people the choice to have a gun. i think the decision today was a correct one, the right is individual and there can be some regulations. sort of amusing that Scalia, who went hunting with Cheney, wrote the opinion.

  114. - Ken in Aurora - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 5:36 pm:

    Sorry I’m late to the party - I’ve been at the hospital all day with my wife. Apologies in advance for any typos, I’m on my Treo.

    Skeeter: “Vanilla, I stand corrected. I did use the term “gun nuts.” I wrote that they would not like this opinion. I expect that once they read it, they probably won’t, so I stand on my prior comment. ”

    Yet you still use the slur “gun nut”. Very telling, and very insulting.

    Why are those that support the 2nd “gun nuts”, Skeet? I personally prefer “supporters of the Bill of Rights”. That darn Second is *so* embarassing, ain’t it?

    I’m hoping the Chicago case filed today by ISRA will be the one that forces the incorporation issue. It’s coming, Skeeter - whether you like it or not!

  115. - Plutocrat03 - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 7:30 pm:

    It thought the interchange between Rich and a number of posters regarding whether Chicago citizens support gun rights was nteresting.

    I am sure that there have been no single election in the city where one could see a pro/anti gun rights position be the marquee issue.

    The only way to really learn is to have a city/county wide referendum regarding gun rights. Pols frequently speak for the people, but rarely have time to listen to their opposition, hemce are stuck in an echo chamber.

    A number of years back Lake County had a referendum regarding the expansion of gambling in that county. To this day the pols are salivating over landing a casino, but the citizens voted no 70/30.

    ITs time to listen to the people, not the special interest.

    I bet the Daley family member who sells insurance is already preparing packages to sell to the public.

  116. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 7:39 pm:

    ===I am sure that there have been no single election in the city where one could see a pro/anti gun rights position be the marquee issue.===

    Poshard Dem primary, 1998.

  117. - Amy - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 7:44 pm:

    P…03, Cook County referendum on assault weapons ban in 2006, passed with a wide margin.

  118. - Skeeter - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 8:18 pm:

    Ken in Aurora,

    Rich deleted my first response to your attack on me. While I found it humorous, he apparently thought it was too rude. Reasonable minds can differ on that one, but I can’t say the deletion was entirely unreasonable. As such, let me respond in a bit more polite manner:

    Ken, I DON’T CARE if you like guns. I DON’T CARE if the Chicago ordinance stays or goes. Although I find people’s love for guns to be a bit ridiculous, it just doesn’t matter. You can own as many guns as you want. It doesn’t bother me in the slightest.

    If you had taken time to read my posts, you would realize that I never took a position on the constitutional issue. The reason is simple: Despite all the talk from both sides as to how clear the issue is, I still don’t have a clue as to the ultimate answer.

    I note that the 2nd A states “keep and bear” arms. It says nothing about “own.” A court could have reasonably concluded that “own” was part of a penumbra surrounding keep and bear — that “keep and bear” are meaningless without “own.”

    In the alternative, a court could reasonably have found that only members of the militia have a right to “keep and bear” arms owned by the militia. I don’t know the answer, but I can definitively say that the 2A is not clear. It is, no matter anyone says, ambiguous.

    When you have an ambiguous constitutional amendment and you use it to toss out a 36 year old law, you are being “activist.”

    Being “activist” does not necessarily equate with being wrong, but the alleged conservatives should be up front and say “Sure the court was activist, but we like the result so that’s OK.”

    If people had read my comments rather than just my name, they would note that my criticisms of the opinion were based on the fact that the opinion is poorly (and at time offensively — see my notes above as to Scalias uncivil comments about the dissent) written, and that it leaves many questions unanswered. I think judges should be civil and I think opinions should be clear and this opinion is neither.

    Not once did I say that the end result was right or wrong since unlike nearly everybody else here, I will freely admit that I don’t have a clue what the 2A means.

    For me, had people read my comments, the issue here is the court’s process — how it got to the decision. Was the decision right or wrong? I don’t know and frankly, I don’t really care. I’m not offended by guns. Guns don’t matter. I am, however, offended by poorly drafted court opinions. That matters.

  119. - Ken in Aurora - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 9:53 pm:

    Skeeter, thank you - I value diverging opinions but have low tolerance for sniping and namecalling. Your 8:18 makes your point well, and I respect your opinion.

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