February 27th, 2010 10:03 AM
Supreme Court and 2A
This is a long read, sorry, but it looked too good not to post. Moderators, if in the wrong place please move it.
The Brady bunch is at it again, hoping the Supreme Court will work to block people from having firearms.
Supreme Court scrutinizes state, local gun control
By MARK SHERMAN
Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Gun control advocates are wishing and hoping they can win by losing when the Supreme Court rules on state and local regulation of firearms.
The justices will be deciding whether the right to possess guns guaranteed by the Second Amendment - like much of the rest of the Bill of Rights - applies to states as well as the federal government. It's widely believed they will say it does.
But even if the court strikes down handgun bans in Chicago and its suburb of Oak Park, Ill., that are at issue in the argument to be heard Tuesday, it could signal that less severe rules or limits on guns are permissible.
The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence is urging the court not to do anything that would prevent state and local governments "from enacting the reasonable laws they desire and need to protect their families and communities from gun violence."
By some estimates, about 90 million people in the U.S. own a total of some 200 million guns.
Roughly 30,000 people in the United States died each year from guns; more than half of them are suicides. An additional 70,000 are wounded.
The new lawsuits were begun almost immediately after the court's blockbuster ruling in 2008 that struck down the District of Columbia's handgun ban. In that case, the court ruled for the first time that individuals have a right keep guns for self-defense and other purposes. Because the nation's capital is a federal enclave, that ruling applied only to federal laws.
The challenges to the Chicago area laws, which are strikingly similar to the Washington law, are part of an aggressive push by gun rights proponents in the courts and state legislatures.
Courts are considering many gun laws following the justice's 2008 decision. Massachusetts' highest state court is examining the validity of a state law requiring gun owners to lock weapons in their homes.
Two federal appeals courts have raised questions about gun possession convictions of people who previously had been convicted of domestic violence misdemeanors. A suit in Washington challenges the capital's ban on carrying loaded guns on public streets.
Lawmakers in several states are pushing for proposals favored by the National Rifle Association and other gun rights groups. The Virginia Legislature is considering repealing a law that limits handgun purchases to one a month. That law was enacted in 1993 because Virginia was the No. 1 supplier of guns used in crimes in other states. A separate proposal in Virginia would allow people with a concealed-weapon permit to take hidden guns into restaurants that sell alcohol, as long as those patrons don't drink.
Chicago is defending its gun laws at the high court. Mayor Richard Daley said a ruling against his city would spawn even more suits nationwide and lead to more gun violence.
"How many more of our citizens must needlessly die because guns are too easily available in our society?" Daley said at a Washington news conference last week that also included the parents of a Chicago teenager who was shot on a bus as he headed home from school.
Annette Nance-Holt said her only child, 16-year-old Blair Holt, shielded his friend when a gang member boarded a bus and began shooting at rival gang members.
"You might ask, `What good is Chicago's handgun law if so many of our young people are still being shot?'" Nance-Holt said. "All I can say is, imagine how many more would be if the law were not there."
Gun rights advocates say such killings should serve as reminders that handgun bans and other gun laws do nothing to protect people who obey the law.
Indeed, 76-year-old Otis McDonald said he joined the suit in Chicago because he wants a handgun at home to protect himself from gangs.
The thrust of the legal arguments in the case is over how the Supreme Court might apply the Second Amendment to states and cities.
In earlier cases applying parts of the Bill of Rights to the states, the court has done so by using the due process clause of the 14th Amendment, passed in the wake of the Civil War to ensure the rights of newly freed slaves.
The court also has relied on that same clause - "no state shall deprive any person of life, liberty or property without due process of law" - in cases that established a woman's right to an abortion and knocked down state laws against interracial marriage and gay sex.
This is the approach the NRA favors.
But many conservative and legal scholars - as well as the Chicago challengers - want the court to employ another part of the 14th amendment, forbidding a state to make or enforce any law "which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States."
They argue this clause was intended as a broad guarantee of the civil rights of the former slaves, but that a Supreme Court decision in 1873 effectively blocked its use.
Breathing new life into the "privileges or immunities" clause might allow for new arguments to shore up other rights, including abortion and property rights, these scholars say.
This approach might enable challenges to arcane state laws that limit economic competition, said Clark M. Neily III of the public interest law firm Institute for Justice. He pointed to a Louisiana law that protects existing florists by requiring a license before someone can arrange or sell flowers. The licensing exam is graded by florists, he noted.
"No reasonable person thinks that law has a legitimate purpose," Neily said. But he said, "Right now, once you get a law like this on the books, it's almost impossible to get rid of."
The case is McDonald v. Chicago, 08-1521.
Last edited by JoJoGunn; February 27th, 2010 at 10:04 AM.
Reason: add link
"A Smith & Wesson always beats 4 aces!"
The Man Prayer. "Im a man, I can change, if I have to.....I guess!" ~ Red Green
February 27th, 2010 10:13 AM
I welcome the lawsuit and the court's decision. Let these other challenges come. They are separate issues, that must be looked at when they come.
February 27th, 2010 08:36 PM
Daley is half right
"Chicago is defending its gun laws at the high court. Mayor Richard Daley said a ruling against his city would spawn even more suits nationwide and lead to more gun violence."
There will be suits until we get rid of all these asinine laws.
Gun violence? I guess facts and history don't enter into the discussion.
February 27th, 2010 09:10 PM
I believe SCOTUS hears the arguments on this case on Tuesday; decision probably in June. Maybe won't have to leave my guns in NM soon-my other home is Chicago ...
February 27th, 2010 09:19 PM
I'm no expert with IL, but sometimes I feel it (the voting population) is far more gun friendly then given credit, it is the chicago politicians that are anti-2a. If and when they start to relax carry bans in IL, I believe the state might be more friendly to even out-of state reciprocity than NY.
Wishful thinking on my part, as I have in-laws in Chicago that I never make an effort to visit because I don't want to go due to carry laws. I know the upcomming case will not change reciprocity, but it is a first step, hopefully.
S&W 642 (no-lock) with .38 Spl +P 135 GR Gold GDHP
Glock G31 & G33 with .357 Sig 125 GR. SXT Winchester Ranger
February 28th, 2010 08:36 AM
Chicago & Illinois
Right. Last year every sheriff in IL except Dart of Cook Co. (Chicago) came out in favor of concealed carry ... two different worlds. Need also to acknowledge that Chicago violence is complex and runs deep; it's frankly unlikely that any court decision or law is a serious route to solving those problems.
February 28th, 2010 09:32 AM
The last Blood Moon Tetrad for this millennium starts in April 2014 and ends in September 2015...according to NASA.
Certified Glock Armorer
NRA Life Member[/B]
February 28th, 2010 08:38 PM
Well, they did good stopping Al Capone too, huh.
This "IS " the week... it's to be heard on Tuesday. Let's hope they support the 2nd Amendment rights for individuals and send a message to any city / state that they cannot deny our rights... willy nilly.
March 1st, 2010 06:55 AM
And DC has already changed rules post-Heller to make it a royal PITA to register a gun. I read it took a guy something like 5 trips to the police station for paperwork, ballistics, exc. to finally get his registration, along with a host of fees. Not to mention the rare CCWs that were issued by the police chief were cut off(the police chief no longer has authority to issue,meaning no one has authority to issue).
Originally Posted by retsupt99
"The right of the whole people, old and young, men, women and boys, and not militia only, to keep and bear arms of every description, not such merely as are used by the militia, shall not be infringed, curtailed, or broken in upon, in the smallest degree..."
Nunn v. State GA 1848
March 1st, 2010 07:48 AM
Seems I remember that what finally got him was a Federal income tax charge.......
Originally Posted by Eagleks
EOD - Initial success or total failure
March 2nd, 2010 06:36 PM
Hope for people living in Chicago and DC?
We can only hope!
Justices debate Chicago handgun banBy Bill Mears, CNN Supreme Court Producer
March 2, 2010 3:49 p.m. EST
Court to decide whether state, local gun control laws violate right "to keep and bear arms"
Ruling could affect ability of state and local governments to enforce limits on weapons
Conservatives seem ready to say Constitution gives individuals more or equal power to states
Washington (CNN) -- Chicago's 28-year-old strict ban on handgun ownership appeared in trouble Tuesday at the U.S. Supreme Court in a potentially far-reaching case over the ability of state and local governments to enforce limits on weapons.
A conservative majority seemed ready to say the U.S. Constitution gives individuals greater power than states -- or at least equal power -- as far as possessing certain firearms for self-protection.
The only question was how far the court would apply competing parts of the 14th Amendment to preserve some "reasonable" gun control measures in place nationwide.
"There are provisions of the Constitution, of the Bill of Rights, that have been incorporated against the states, where the states have substantial latitude and ample authority to impose reasonable regulations," Justice Anthony Kennedy said. "Why can't we do the same thing with firearms?"
At issue is whether the constitutional "right of the people to keep and bear arms" applies to local gun control ordinances, or only to federal restrictions. The basic question has remained unanswered for decades, and it gives the conservative majority on the high court another chance to allow Americans expanded weapon ownership rights.
A ruling is expected by late June.
The appeal was filed by a Chicago, Illinois, community activist who sought a handgun for protection from gangs. Speaking from outside his South Side home, Otis McDonald told CNN that he wants a handgun to protect himself and his family from violence in his neighborhood.
"That's all I want ... just a fighting chance," McDonald said. "Give me the opportunity to at least make somebody think about something before they come in my house on me."
Two years ago the justices affirmed an individual's right to possess such weapons, tossing out restrictive laws in the federal enclave of Washington, D.C.
The larger issue is one that has polarized judges, politicians and the public for decades: Do the Second Amendment's 27 words bestow gun ownership as an individual right or as a collective one -- aimed at the civic responsibilities of state militias and therefore subject, perhaps, to strict government regulation? And is that regulation limited to federal laws, or can they be applied to local communities?
The amendment states: "A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed."
Tuesday's hourlong arguments focused mainly on the whether the Second Amendment should be "incorporated" or applied to state and local laws like most of the other amendments in the Bill of Rights.
James Feldman, the attorney for the city of Chicago, told the justices that gun laws are different. "Firearms are designed to injure and kill," Feldman said.
That argument brought skepticism from several conservatives on the bench.
"Your position is that a state or local government could completely ban all firearms?" Justice Samuel Alito asked Feldman.
Justice Antonin Scalia said the court's 2008 ruling over Washington's law applied this time, too. "The function of what was codified" in the Second Amendment, he said, "was to enforce the traditional right of the people to bear arms."
Chief Justice John Roberts downplayed concern of a sweeping ruling that might cripple cities from finding ways to prevent violence. The extent of gun rights are "still going to be subject to the political process," Roberts said.
A number of others, led by Justice Stephen Breyer, sought to limit the court's ruling striking the handgun ban in Washington. That decision offered at least partial constitutional validation to citizens seeking the right to possess one of the most common types of firearms in their homes.
The Justice Department estimates as many as 275 million guns are in the United States. In 2005, three-quarters of the 10,100 homicides by firearms nationwide were committed with handguns.
"Chicago says that their gun law has saved hundreds, including -- and they have statistics -- lots of women in domestic cases," Breyer said. "When you have the First Amendment, or some of the other amendments, there is always a big area where it's free speech versus a whole lot of things, but not often free speech versus life. When it's free speech versus life, we very often decide in favor of life."
Underpinning the legal basis for the court's jurisdiction in this appeal is a complex reading of the 14th Amendment, passed in the wake of the Civil War to ensure all citizens -- including newly freed slaves -- were protected from state laws that might restrict their fundamental rights.
One part ensures states cannot deprive people of "life, liberty, or property, without due process of law." That has been commonly applied by federal courts when it comes to disputes over basic rights, so-called "ordered liberty" cases. Such cases include affirming the right to abortion and to homosexual sex.
But another rarely used provision also prevents states from depriving the "privileges or immunities" of all citizens. The specific question for the high court in the Chicago case is whether the "immunities and privileges" clause should now be used to overturn the handgun ban. An 1873 ruling limited use of that provision when striking down a variety of state laws.
Alan Gura, the attorney for Chicago activist McDonald, has promoted a new reading of the clause in his lead role representing gun owners.
However, the current court appeared reluctant to revive that argument, seemingly content to apply the "due process" standard to Chicago's handgun law. The National Rifle Association supports that position.
The constitutional theories are dense, but some legal scholars have said they think if the high court embraces this "privileges and immunities" clause, it could open up to fresh review a huge range of issues, such as property rights and same-sex marriage.
Courts have generally upheld other cities' restrictions on semiautomatic weapons and sawed-off shotguns. The high court's conservative majority has in recent years upheld a California ban on assault rifles, similar to a federal ban that expired in 2004.
Forty-four state constitutions protect their residents' right to keep weapons, according to a brief filed by 32 state attorneys general in support of the individual weapons owners in the current appeals.
Some constitutional experts have noted the Bill of Rights had traditionally been applied by courts only to the federal government, not to local entities. It was not until the past half-century that the justices have viewed free speech, assembly and the press -- among other rights -- as individual in nature, and fundamental to liberty, superseding in many cases the power of states.
There have been limits. The high court repeatedly has refused to extend to states the Fifth Amendment requirement that persons can be charged with serious crimes only by "indictment of a grand jury
March 2nd, 2010 10:16 PM
That would apply to many of the President's appointees, staff and 1/2 of Congress wouldn't it ?? Oh.. forgot... their's was an "innocent" mistake.
Originally Posted by rstickle
I think this will be another... first step , with more cases to follow... for refinement of the definition and clarification.
March 3rd, 2010 01:13 AM
""Roughly 30,000 people in the United States died each year from guns; more than half of them are suicides. An additional 70,000 are wounded.""
15,000 suicides = Take guns and they will just stab themselves or hang themselves or be creative. We should televise the suicides at that point. A gun shot would be too easy, cheap, and non creative.
My point is ... the Japanese have been committing honrable suicide for hundreds of years using a little knife so where does taking guns away fix it?
"I believe that the right of the citizen to keep and bear arms must not be infringed if liberty in America is to survive." - Ronald Reagan
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