02 March 2010

Chicago's Mayor Daley: "We Have The Right ... '

UPDATED Tuesday, March 2, 2010, 4:04 pm -- Analysis from SCOTUSblog here, analsis from Legal Times here, podcasts of oral argument testimony here, the full transcript text of oral testimony here. and analysis from law prof Eugene Volokh.

That the justices are leaning toward incorporation is a positive move, but that means they may be considering implementation thereof (due process rather than priveleges and immunities), is disappointing). The gun controllers will paint the opinion, in the end, as a victory because the Supreme Court did not give carte blanche approval for firearms, but instead may well leave room for some restrictions. Either way, the "control of the people" crowd have clearly lost another big round today.

In response to the lawsuit argued before the U.S. Supreme Court this morning, pitting regular folks against the city of Chicago, Mayor Daley had these words:

"We have the right for health and safety to pass reasonable laws."

You know something? I don't disagree with that statement. But an utter, absolute ban on the single, most effective self defense tool, and leaving residents to the protection of the outmanned and financially stretched Chicago police department, borders on the irresponsible. There is no way he can intellectually defend such a ban as being in the best interest of health and safety.

For nearly 30 years there has been an absolute ban on handguns in the city of Chicago. And during that time the city has become one of the most violent metropolitan areas in the entire United States. The bad guys know that law abiding people will, well, abide by the law. Leaving criminals in control of the Windy City's streets.

In response, what does Chicago do? It institutes unconstitutional house to house "voluntary" searches. Searches for firearms that quickly are ridiculed not only by residents but by most of the nation. Within days, the searches were terminated as the city realized the ineffective "answer" was turning into a public relations nightmare.

But city leaders, desperate for political control, maintains the gun ban is necessary. But the statistics do not support their argument. In fact, crime stats there are a nail in the coffin of the gun control theorists.

Not so, you say? Consider the following. About a year and a half ago, the long-time ban on possession of handguns in the District of Columbia was overturned because it, rightly, was found to be wholly unconstitutional. The gun control theorists chimed in with their tired, well-worn and proven to be false arguments that there would be a wave of violent crime in DC. Fast forward to present day. In the past year, violent crime is down 25 percent in the District of Columbia. Read that sentence again and let it sink in . . .

After the 10-year long national ban on so-called "assault weapons" expired, the same chicken littles falsely insisted, as most fear mongers do, that the sky would fall. That our streets would be filled with machine guns and every other odd "weapon," creating mayhem and leaving blood in our streets. The reality? No uptick in violent crime. Read that sentence again and let it sink in . . . In fact, violent crime continues it slow downward trend in the United States, thanks in part to the passage of concealed carry laws. The bad guys do not know whether granny is packing a .45 semi-auto in her purse, and the fear of dying in a robbery attempt is having an impact on crime across the U.S.

When CCW passed in any number of states, including Ohio, the warnings were that there would be blood on park benches and on the grass in Cleveland Stadiumm. Neither happened. It was much ado about nothing.

Attorneys for the City of Chicago, several plaintiffs, and the National Rifle Association, all gave oral arguments this morning before the High Court.

According to most court watchers, justices seemed not to like the Chicago ban, at least based on their questioning of attorneys in the matter. Many individuals and local, statewide and national advocacy groups were on hand outside the Supreme Court building in Washington DC this morning to spread their various messages. From people carrying signs saying that self defense is a basic human right -- the same message that is at the core of this blog -- to people protesting what they claim is easy access to firearms. I would take exception to the latter argument, considering that in the old days you could go into a Sears store, or Western Auto, or local hardware store and pick up a gun, no papers, no background checks, just cash and carry or lay-away.

The decision is expected until the summer. In anticipation of this court case, several suburbs of Chicago dropped their bans on handguns, knowing, in my opinion, that the case -- and the argument -- is a loser.

Time will tell . . .

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