Mayor Daley takes a moment to collect himself while announc-
ing that the City Council had approved his "Responsible Gun Own-
ership Ordinance" 45-0. Less than a week later, the ordinance was
challenged in court by four Chicago residents and the IL Assoc. of
Firearms Retailers with the help of the National Rifle Association.
(AP Photo/M. Spencer Green)
Don't forget that Second Amendment Freedom Rally III is only two days away! Come to downtown Chicago and show Mayor Daley a celebration of freedom.
When the Supreme Court declared that Chicago and all other state and local governments were bound to respect the Second Amendment--having declared two years previously that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to keep and bear arms, it presented the world-famous song-and-dance troupe Mayor Daley and His Aldermen with a choice:
- Accept the court's authority and either give up on gun control or try to craft some of those "common sense" regulations that would not infringe upon an individual right "fundamental to the . . . concept of ordered liberty," or
- Defy the Supreme Court and go down in a blaze of authoritarian glory, fighting a delaying action in federal court while praying desperately that something awful befalls one of the five Justices in the McDonald majority so that President Obama can appoint Rahm Emmanuel or someone to help overturn what one alderman called the court's "misreading of the law."
Mayor Daley and His Aldermen chose to announce that they had taken option number one while actually taking number two--to the surprise of no one familiar with Daley's personality. The Mayor has long considered Chicago's ban on handguns to be "his" baby, and he seems to be taking the loss of the ban as personally as Chicago's infamous loss in the Olympic bid process.
The main difference between McDonald and Benson may be how one-sided the new lawsuit is, based on the precedent set in McDonald. The four plaintiffs, Brett Benson, Raymond Sledge, Kenneth Pacholski and Kathryn Tyler, are challenging the new ordinance on eight separate counts based on their various experiences as businessmen, educators, and residents of Chicago, while the IL Association of Firearms Retailers (ILAFR) are challenging the ordinance's total prohibition on firing ranges and gun shops within city limits.
The first count, for example, alleges that
. . . . the ordinance outlaws the exercise of the right to bear arms in self-defense even when one is in one's own garage, on one's own back porch, or on the steps leading to one's front door.
The question is how Chicago can defend that provision. They certainly cannot dispute that it's true--the ordinance clearly states:
"Home" means the inside a person's dwelling unit that is traditionally used for living purposes, including the basement and attic. A "home" does not include (i) any garage, including an attached garage, on the lot, (ii) any space outside the dwelling unit, including any stairs, porches, back, side or front yard space, or common areas; or (iii) any dormitory, hotel, or group living, as that term is defined in 17-17-0102-A.
Incidentally, that definition of "group living" includes domestic violence shelters, which presumably means that even staff who live in such shelter homes for victims of domestic violence will be completely denied the right to keep and bear arms in their own defense. But back to the lawsuit at hand, if Chicago can't argue that the allegation isn't true, can they argue that it's not an infringement on a basic civil right?
That argument is a little like the ancient joke about the fishing at any lake in the world: "You should have been here last week!" After the McDonald decision, the right to keep and bear arms is legally no different than the right to free speech or the right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures. Can you imagine any federal court ruling that Chicago could prohibit campaign signs for political candidates outside the "dwelling unit" or arrest someone who had a "Vote Out Daley" sign in his front yard? Or uphold an arrest based on a warrantless search of a homeowner's attached garage because it's permissible to infringe on the Fourth Amendment's protections as long as they still apply "within the dwelling unit that is traditionally used for living purposes?" How about a decision that a family staying in a hotel or a woman staying in a domestic violence shelter could be arrested for possessing a Qu'ran or a Book of Mormon?
It doesn't sound like the side of the case anyone would want to argue, does it? In a world where cases were always decided on their legal merits, Chicago wouldn't stand a chance. But, as has been observed in this space before, Mayor Daley and His Aldermen consider this a game, and they're playing with other people's lives and other people's money. And after all, maybe they know something the rest of us don't.
For more info: Look for Part II:
Welcome Des Moines Gun Rights Examiner Sean Mclanahan, who rounded up some of the fallout written after the McDonald decision was announced:
When governments disregard the liberties of the citizens, there are only three methods of recourse: litigation through the courts, a complete change of elected officials, or in the gravest extreme, armed removal of elected officials. Since our elected officials do not appear to be afraid of the second action, and the third action is to be used only as a truly last resort, litigation (or fear of it) is the most effective tool currently available. And the sad truth is that government entities bring this on themselves.