Gun Fights in Chicago


The ABA Journal has an interesting write-up on the ongoing legal battles, post-Heller, over Chicago's gun laws. An excerpt:

Gun-rights groups long had eyed Chicago as the next stop should Heller go their way. And Chicago May­or Richard M. Daley didn't have to wait long to add another title to his resumé: defendant. Within a day of the justices' decision, the mayor and city found themselves and their gun ban in federal district court. Chicago faces two challenges, one led by the National Rifle Association and the other by the Second Amendment Foundation, an advocacy group based in Bellevue, Wash.

But even after Heller, does the Second Amendment right restrict state or local actions? That is, is it "incorporated" on the state's through the 14th Amendment? That is yet to be decided.

Today, nearly every amendment that addresses individual rights has been incorporated to the states, with the exceptions of the Fifth's indictment clause and the Seventh's right to a civil jury trial.

Gun proponents say the Second Amendment's freshly blessed individual right already enjoys fundamental status. "The Heller decision suggests that if a case arises, the 14th Amendment would apply," says Stephen J. Halbrook of Fairfax, Va., a veteran litigator for the NRA and one of the lawyers in the Chicago challenge. [Dallas litigator David J.] Schenck [author of a Heller amicus brief for 40 state firearms associations] says his clients also are exploring incorporation arguments under the Ninth and 10th amendments, which reserve for the people or the states, respectively, all rights that the Con­stitution does not expressly grant the federal government.

Beyond incorporation and with an ordinance so similar to the one struck down in Heller, the Chicago ban's future could be dim. [Chicago's lawyer Benna R.] Solomon acknowledges that the city hadn't fully considered substantive issues in the weeks immediately after the Supreme Court spoke. But she adds that the city has no plans to roll over. "I expect we will have more than one argument," she says.

The piece is a little behind the time toward the end on new developments in D.C. regarding gun laws, which were, reluctantly, liberalized back in mid-September.

And look for my forthcoming book on the Heller case and the legal and political battle over guns in America, Gun Control on Trial, and an excerpt from it in the December reason.

NEXT: "Escape From Berkeley" in the New York Times

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  1. My dad died this year… he wasn’t a gun nut, but the main heirlooms he wanted to leave his sons were his guns. Maybe someday soon I’ll be able to keep mine in my home legally. Bless these magnificent litigating bastards!

  2. When free market fundamentalism is collapsing, change to subject and talk about guns.

  3. When we enact laws against guns only criminals will have them. When are these banners going to get it. Sure they kill innocent people and that is a shame, a real shame. But banning law abiding citizens from being able to protect themselves in some of this nation’s worst neighborhoods is not the way to go about it.

    Let’s keep in mind that auto accidents kill six times as many people a year as guns do and the vast majority of those killed are innocent of any crime, guns actually help save innocent lives and if you would like to hear more about individual stories of survival please pick up a copy of Freedom First, an NRA publication but one in which you will find testimonials of citizens protecting themselves, those they love and those lucky enough to find themselves in the company of a gun owner in extreme situations.

    To be sure no one NEEDS an AK-47 with a 100rnd drum mag but no one needs 1100 horse power in their car either and you don’t hear anyone calling for a ban on the excesses of motor sports. If you chose not to own or carry a firearm you are leaving yourself open to vicious attack by armed thugs, no matter where you reside. I just don’t get the argument that banning guns of any kind has some effect on crime as shown by the failed ban of D.C. where gun crime went up 200% while the national average went up only 9%.

  4. I approve of instant background checks at the retail sale level, barring guns for felons and the mentally unstable, and keeping them inaccessible from children. The Castle Doctrine is good. I like the way Florida’s laws are now. I tend to bristle at waiting periods, but I can live with them.

    There should be no restrictions on the kinds of firearms you can own. The so-called assault weapons ban is purely cosmetic, as most people here know. For what it’s worth, you can put a 75-round drum on a rifle that passes the AW ban. It’s still quite unwieldy.

    DC’s restrictions redefined any firearm that could accept a magazine or clip of over 12 rounds as a machine gun. As I understand it the article Brian links to above states that this untenable legal construction has been jettisoned by the DC City Council to preempt the US House from rewriting their gun laws, although the new legislation does cap mags at 10 rounds.

  5. Lefiti;

    The whole article is about guns. Why do YOU want to change it to be about the economy? If the economy really does tank, guns in private hands might very well become VERY important to you and everyone else who needs to protect themselves from marauders and criminals who want to take what little you have left!

  6. …you don’t hear anyone calling for a ban on the excesses of motor sports.

    You don’t?

  7. and keeping them inaccessible from children.

    National 4-H Shooting Sports. Gunproofing kids is a lot more effective than childproofing guns.

  8. …but no one needs 1100 horse power in their car either and you don’t hear anyone calling for a ban on the excesses of motor sports.

    Not yet.

  9. Seems the only ones killing themselves in Chicago are the blacks and hispanics. I know, used to live there once. Keep the guns away from the root cause of Chicago’s problems and the crime will fall and Chicago might become a nice place to live once again,. Also get rid of Daley.

  10. In France, motorcycles are limited to 106 HP. Apparently the Motorcycle Safety Foundation is or has been pushing for a similar kind of limit here, only they’d go even further, limiting the hp/weight ratio to 0.1 (e.g., a 600 lb. motorcycle can have at most 60 hp.) Plus a ban on riding outside fair-weather, daylight hours, a 55mph speed limit for motorcycles only, etc. See The MSF sounds like a bunch of nanny-state jerkwads to me. I don’t think these proposals have gained much support, but they’re definitely out there.

  11. That Motorcycle SafeLY Foundation (not to be confused with the real MSF – Motorcycle Safety Foundation) press release is from 2002. I wonder if they have done anything recently…

  12. Today, nearly every amendment that addresses individual rights has been incorporated to the states, with the exceptions of the Fifth’s indictment clause and the Seventh’s right to a civil jury trial.

    I think the states may also be able to get away with quartering troops in your house in time of peace.

  13. “Keep the guns away from the root cause of Chicago’s problems…”

    Hell, Ray, maybe we should just round up all the blacks and put them in camps. Worked real good in South Africa.

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