Belmont Club

Arms and the man

Here’s a video showing Chicago Mayor Richard Daley decrying the Supreme Court’s decision that the Second Amendment refers to the individual right to keep and bear arms.

Will the Court Actually Strike Down the Challenged Provisions of D.C. Law? Yes. The Court struck down the handgun ban; and also the requirement that firearms in the home be kept locked and unloaded/disassembled — to the extent the latter requirement prohibits citizens from “rendering … firearm[s] in the home operable for the purpose of immediate self-defense.” … the lower courts may have to piece out what level of readiness and access is realistically required for “immediate self-defense.” …

Are “Keep” and “Bear” Separate Rights? … It clearly includes the right to “use [arms] for the core lawful purpose of self-defense” in the home. … What about carrying them outside of the home? Justice Scalia notes that 19th-century state courts regularly upheld prohibitions on “carrying concealed weapons.” … The opinion does not mention that many of these state courts hold that the right to bear arms obligates governments to allow some form of weapons carry — if concealed carry is banned, then “open carry” (holstered on the hip) must be allowed, and vice versa. …

The imposition by the U.S. government of a U.K.-style system of sweeping gun bans and prohibitions on armed self-defense is now off the table. Such laws are a violation of the U.S. Constitution.

The Supreme Court Second Amendment decision comes on the heels of decisions to allow enemy combatants access to the American legal system and striking down death penalties for child rapists. The decisions exemplify the fault lines in American political opinion and how they are played out in the courts. Chicago is now prepared to make the argument that the Supreme Court decision does not apply to it’s fair city.

“In the sense the Supreme Court has found this is an individual right to bear arms, we recognize this is a significant threat,” said Jennifer Hoyle, spokeswoman for the city’s law department. “It gives people an opening to challenge the ordinance in a way it hasn’t been challenged in many years.”

Hoyle said the high court’s ruling does not invalidate Chicago’s law because it does not apply to cities or states. And, she said, lawyers are confident they will be able to successfully fight off any legal challenge to the 1982 ordinance that makes it illegal to possess or sell handguns in the city.

“We have very strong legal arguments to make at every level of the courts,” pointing out, for example, that the gun law constitutes a reasonable restriction for a densely populated urban area. But Hoyle fully expects legal challenges to those arguments are coming.

She can count on it.

The City of Chicago is not of course opposed to firearms; simply who gets to bear them. The police department recently proposed arming police officers with assault rifles.

CHICAGO (CBS) ― One answer to curbing Chicago’s gun violence, according to police, is putting officers on the streets dressed in full battle gear and traveling in vehicles normally used in hostage and barricade situations. I think it acts as deterrent,” Chicago Police Dept. Supt. Jody Weis said. “The first thought is that it’s SWAT and they’ve backed off. I think the deterrent factor is important.” …

But in Chicago’s South Shore neighborhood, the idea of police with assault weapons is a concern. “If they’re going to carry assault rifles like that that’s just going to be an all out war with citizens criminals because they’re going to defend themselves,” said area resident Kevine Green.

Pat Hill, a former police officer and the president of the African American Police League, questions the message police are sending to the black and Hispanic communities where the battle-ready officers are expected to be deployed. “This is the stuff you use in war,” Hill said. “This is what you use in Iraq and Afghanistan. So are they telling the community now that they’ve declared us as the enemy?”

The Chicago police department says the heavy weapons will only be used “when needed”, which raises the question, will they ever be used when they are unneeded?

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