[Posted by Kevin Fanning]
* Yesterday’s Supreme Court decision on Washington’s ban on handguns struck a nerve in Chicago. In fact, Justice Stephen Breyer even wrote that “Chicago has a law very similar to the District’s” in his dissenting opinion.
Hours after the decision Mayor Daley condemed the decision:
“I think we’re very disappointed in the Supreme Court decision. Why? If you really live in the real world and you see what handguns are doing to America, it doesn’t matter what age of the moment, young people and all ages are being killed in serious danger.
Then shortly after, gun advocate groups jumped into the mix:
Hours after the Supreme Court ruling came down, two groups sued Chicago over its handgun ban, which is similar to the District of Columbia law the high court struck down. In addition, the NRA said it would file a lawsuit against Chicago today and would also sue surrounding cities that ban handguns.
“We are currently going over statutes at the local, state and federal level,” NRA chief lobbyist Chris W. Cox said. “I am certain there will be challenges to all sorts of statutes as we move forward.”
You can read the Illinois State Rifle Asscociation’s complaint here.
* City officials came out today confident that they could defend Chicago’s ban:
Benna Solomon, deputy corporation counsel, asserted that the Supreme Court decision applies only to the federal government—which Washington is part of, but not Chicago.
“The court notes that it [was] not required to consider whether the 2nd Amendment also applies to state and local government, and therefore it does not consider that question,” Solomon said.
But such confidence may ultimately be tempered by the court’s affirmative embrace of an expansive view of the 2nd Amendment, which suggested without equivocation that any attempt to deny individuals access to a working handgun in a home would be unlawful.
* How exactly will this decision affect Illinois? Many state lawmakers said Thursday that the Supreme Court opinion on gun control is likely to prompt a slew of legislation in Springfield, but at the same time will make it more difficult for any new restrictions to pass:
“It’s not going to persuade me one way or the other not to push forward with a ban on assault weapons, but… it’s going to be a tougher sell,” said Rep., Edward Acevedo (D-Chicago).
“There’s going to be a lot of rethinking of state and local gun-control laws and ordinances,” predicted Lawrence Solum of the University of Illinois School of Law. “One thing that seems likely is that some of the more extreme ordinances like Chicago and San Francisco may well be modified without litigation. They may come up with a less-restrictive version that they could successfully defend.”
* Some are even saying that Chicago’s ordinance is merely symbolic, and hasn’t done much in the way of preventing crime:
The Chicago Police Department seized more than 13,000 guns last year, but only a handful of people were arrested for violating the city’s handgun ban, records show.
Chicago Police spokeswoman Monique Bond said 74 people were arrested in 2007 and 83 people in 2006 for failing to register their handguns, an ordinance violation.
Thousands of people were arrested on more serious charges of unlawful use of a weapon — a state offense that is not jeopardized by the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision Thursday to overturn Washington D.C.’s handgun ban.
* Honestly, I think that the law is even more vague now after this ruling. There were lots of discussions about the constitutional merits of the ruling and as well as other general debates over the Second Amendment on the blog yesterday. Lets try to keep comments focused around the ruling’s potential impact for Illinois.
* Supreme Court strikes down D.C. handgun ban
* Repeal the 2nd Amendment
* Gun ruling helps only criminals