The Chicago Gun Ban Showdown in 2010
By Gerard Valentino
The City of Chicago has a long and storied relationship with the gun, and particularly the Thompson submachine gun made famous by gangsters during the prohibition era. Many credit the lawlessness of that time with the city's longtime anti-gun bias and fondness for gun bans.
Whatever the cause, there is little doubt that Chicago's mayoral administrations have declared war on private ownership of firearms over the years with draconian regulations. Currently, Richard Daley resides in the Mayor's office, and is quite possibly the most anti-gun elected official in American history.
Now, his dream of an anti-gun utopian Chicago is facing its biggest challenge, and the outcome of his current battle against the private ownership of guns has national implications since the U.S Supreme Court is going to rule on the Chicago gun ban and whether the Second Amendment is binding on the states.
Most gun owners are oblivious to the current court case even though it's one of the most important battles ever waged over gun rights in America. If the anti-gun side wins, it means states can pass draconian gun laws without any constitutional oversight.
Although most Supreme Court experts predict a convincing win for the pro-gun side in this case, most experts also readily admit that the Justices are prone to do just about anything. Remember that when the Heller case was decided in 2008, we were only one vote away from losing the individual right to bear arms and having only a "collective" right.
So, there is no guarantee we will win, which is why it was vitally important for the pro-gun community to bring all their resources to bear. To that end, Buckeye Firearms Association and The United States Concealed Carry Association filed a friend of the court brief in an effort to defend our rights.
A key point of the brief is one that most Americans, and even most gun owners, never consider: when you travel to a city like Chicago, your First Amendment, Fourth Amendment and other constitutional rights travel with you, but your Second Amendment rights end at the city limits.
When put in that context, it makes it easier for moderate gun rights advocates to understand why this case is so important.
Without extending the Second Amendment protections to the states, an anti-gun administration and political machine can effectively pass whatever law they deem necessary. You can bet Chicago Mayor Daley would quickly act if he could completely destroy private ownership of firearms in his city.
Fortunately, a win by the pro-gun side in this case will not only benefit Chicagoans, it will also benefit citizens of San Francisco, New York City, and other places where politicians have worked to destroy gun rights.
Ironically, in the first full year after the Heller case ruling ended the Washington D.C. ban on keeping guns in the home for defense, the city's murder rate fell to the lowest level in 45 years. Such a drastic drop is unlikely to occur in Chicago, but the issue here isn't whether more guns will lead to less crime.
Instead, the issue is whether law abiding citizens have the right to keep guns for self defense. Pro-gun advocates believe that right is absolute while the anti-gun groups think the average citizen is incapable of safely owning firearms.
When the Supreme Court rules in favor of gun rights in this case, Chicago Mayor Daley is likely to throw one of his infamous temper tantrums, and will ratchet up his anti-gun rhetoric. He will rant and rave about how dangerous guns are in the hands of honest citizens and will make a great show of his disgust over the ruling.
Even though the Chicago case is vitally important to the future of gun rights and will make a great public relations event for Mayor Daley, the battle is only partially won or lost in a nice, clean courtroom. The true battle is won or lost in a dark alley when a law abiding citizen is able to use a gun available for self-defense instead of being disarmed in a true moment of need.
Remember, the most powerful handgun in the world isn't the one with the biggest caliber or best stopping power. The most powerful handgun is the one used by a homeowner to keep a violent home invader from attacking his family, or is the gun in the hands of a potential rape victim who uses it to defend the sanctity of her body.
Gerard Valentino is the author of The Valentino Chronicles – Observations of a Middle Class Conservative, available through the Buckeye Firearms Association store.
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