You’ve Come A Long Way, Baby

The Second Amendment finally applies to the states. Now the fight over gun rights really begins.

(Page 4 of 4)

Gura and the SAF want to take the lead in shaping post-McDonald Second Amendment law. They have already filed three new lawsuits challenging guns laws since the McDonald decision came down. The first is against North Carolina, charging that its ban on gun or ammunition possession outside the home during a declared state of emergency violates the Second Amendment. The second is against Westchester County, New York, arguing that it should be enjoined from its manner of enforcing a state law that allows carry licenses to be denied merely because applicants cannot show “good cause.” A third suit was filed against state officials in Maryland for requiring a man to show he was in specific danger before he could get a carry permit. As SAF’s Gottlieb said in a press release, “Our civil rights, including the right to keep and bear arms, should not be subject to the whims of a local government or its employees, just because they don’t think someone ‘needs’ a carry permit.”

In addition, two pre-McDonald California suits by Gura and the SAF, which were held up pending the McDonald decision, should now move forward. One of those suits, Peña v. Cid, challenges California’s list of officially approved handgun types and models. The other, Sykes v. McGinness, challenges the methods used by Sacramento and Yolo counties to issue carry permits. Since the Heller decision, Gura has already succeeded in prompting the District of Columbia to eliminate its list of legal weapons, which was modeled on California’s, and he is also pursuing a challenge to D.C.’s carry ban.

Chicago, meanwhile, is providing further grist for lawsuits. After McDonald, various city officials announced their determination to keep  gun rules as restrictive as possible, with one of the city’s attorneys telling the Chicago Tribune that Chicago is “trying to figure out how far we can go and survive a [legal] challenge, because we know it will be challenged.” In July the Chicago City Council unanimously approved a new set of laws prohibiting all gun sales, empowering a city official to unilaterally ban gun models he deems “unsafe,” barring residents under 21 from legally owning guns, requiring gun permit applicants to undergo firearms training (yet simultaneously banning firing ranges), allowing no more than one gun per owner to be assembled and operable at a time, and banning the carrying of guns anywhere outside the home, including porches and garages. Four Chicagoans and the Illinois Association of Firearms Retailers have challenged those provisions in federal court.

David and Colleen Lawson, two of the McDonald plaintiffs, attended Chicago City Council meetings where the new gun laws were discussed. “All the experts on the council’s panel [were] against having a handgun in the home,” Colleen Lawson says. “Most aldermen were speaking as if their constituents did not have enough brains or ability to regulate our own emotions.” One alderman openly encouraged his constituents to disrupt a pro-gun rally. The Lawsons recall being the only people who spoke in support of gun rights during the public comment period. 

As of this writing, Otis McDonald is still embroiled in Chicago’s new registration process, still awaiting official permission to have his legally purchased .45 in his home for self defense. Fifty-two people were shot in Chicago the weekend before the McDonald decision came down; all the airy talk of clauses and scrutiny and incorporation aside, Chicago is full of hundreds of thousands of people like Otis McDonald, surrounded by others who do or might mean them or their property harm, and are as of this writing still being burdened in exercising their right to defend themselves in the most effective way.

Otis McDonald is not thrilled with the stubborn way Chicago has reacted to the decision in his namesake case. He’s particularly disturbed by the $100 permit fee citizens will have to pay the city every three years for every gun they legally own. “Everybody is strapped for money in these times,” he says. “Many of us are on fixed income, senior citizens—do we have to be out there vulnerable just because we might not have the money to pay to exercise a right that we inherited? That is unfair, and I believe that somewhere, someway that is going to change.”

Senior Editor Brian Doherty ( is the author of Gun Control on Trial (Cato).

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • troll.||

    Dems are afraid of a black guy with a gun...

  • Jesse Jackson||


  • The Honorable Charles Schumer||

    Now the fight over gun rights really begins.

    There are no "gun rights." This is not like health care, housing, education, or the pursuit of happiness. If you had the right to keep and bear arms, the Government would provide them to you.

  • ||

    They do... in the form of police and the U.S. Military.

  • The Honorable Charles Schumer||

    Was that an echo off my moobs?

  • Warty||

    We don't need gun control. We need egg control.

  • Previously-Stunned Friend||

    Stunned family and friends gather at the trailer park trying to make sense of what happened

    Well, he did warn her about her cooking before. I guess the bitch just wouldn't listen.

  • T||

    What do you tell a woman with two black eyes?

    What, too soon?

  • Warty||

    Make sure you're not too busy checking the baseball results to read the comments.

    What do you expect from trailer park trash. Big bellied, long haired no brainers. What happened to the American dream. They spend too much time eating fry ups and checking the baseball results.
    - Kaz, London, 12/9/2010 10:09
  • ||

    "They spend too much time eating fry ups and checking the baseball results"

    We call it cricket over here, fuckstain.

  • SIV||

    Apparently it is quite easy to lifetime ban a Limey from the US for saying derogatory things about Americans.

  • SIV||

  • T||


    Well, just don't email that to the WH and you'll be fine

  • ||

    Neighbour Steve Smith saw the rampage from the window of his mobile home. When he walked outside, Smith said Neace took a shot at him but missed.

    OMFG! I've got to get the fuck out of here!

  • Solanum||

    Mr Smith said Neace ended up mumbling to himself on the porch of his trailer, pointed the shotgun at his head and pulled the trigger.

    He only had one shell left. Either pray that you drop Steve with one shot, or save the shell for yourself. He made the right decision.

  • ||

    "Neace had been facing eviction, due to his bad temper".

    I got nothing.

  • ||

    What does Morgan Freeman have to do with this?

  • ||

    God is everywhere, coarsetad.

  • Mayor Daley||

    "The Second Amendment finally applies to the states." But not the cities!

  • Old Mexican||

    After McDonald, various city officials announced their determination to keep gun rules as restrictive as possible[...]

    ... which clearly means the city officials think their [rather the taxpayers] pockets are deep enough to defend themselves of the myriads of lawsuits that are sure to follow.

    Hey, gun possession rights defenders: Wanna win against the city? Bankrupt it!

  • LarryA||

    Business as usual. If they can't do gun control then they might be forced to do something effective about the crime rate.

  • ||

    Own all the guns you want. Ammunition will cost $1000 a round for a .22LR cartridge (tax). And you won't be able to practice except for a range 200 miles away (zoning and EPA regs). And each cartridge will be serialized and you will be guilty of a felony if you possess ammunition which is not serialized (commerce clause). And lead bullets will be outlawed so your barrel will need replacement in 200 rounds due to the damage done by the harder metals used to replace the lead bullets (EPA regs.).

  • ||

    BTW - I am not advocating those or other laws and/or regulations which I consider contrary to the 2nd Amendment. The elites will feel much safer when such are implemented, and you and I won't have a damn thing to say otherwise.

    The 2nd Amendment describes the intersection of power and trust in our form of government. You either trust the people as the founders did (by arming them) or you don't (as today's politicians of both parties). The elites control the military and the police - the armed citizens not so much. And if you think that millions of armed Americans couldn't give the police and military some trouble (should the occasion arise, God forbid), then you might consider Afghanistan and Iraq. All we've got to do is take out 435 + 100 + 2 = 537. I like our odds should push come to shove.

  • ||

    Here's a more detailed look at the McDonald implications for the term "bear arms" (the next step past in-home ownership):

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  • Infoteknik||

    They spend too much time eating fry ups and checking the baseball results.


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