Monday, June 28, 2010

(Respectable) Negroes With Guns: The Supreme Court Takes One More Step Against Chicago's Draconian Handgun Law

The Supreme Court has taken one more step in reinforcing the 2nd Amendment and the right of American citizens to keep and bear arms. I may lose my "progressive" bonafides among some of you for this one, but I am happy with the ruling, and hopefully the lower courts will make it possible for the good folks of Chicago to register and own a handgun legally.

In the most practical sense I have always found it odd that hooligans, ign'ts, thugs, White militia types and others that would do good folk harm are able to assemble an arsenal, while the good guys (especially if you live in a city) cannot. Frankly, as the volume of the "Right wing Vox Populi militia tea party brigands Obama is a tyrant who should be deposed" meme gets turned up (with its not coincidental run on ammunition and guns), I for one would like a little insurance policy...just to ensure that I don't lose for lack of shooting back.

To my respectable negro bonafides, there is a long history of disarming black folk in this country beginning with the slave codes, through to Reconstruction, Jim Crow, and into the Right-wing law and order reactionary politics which followed the 1960s. I have always felt that just as The Deacons for Defense, the brave brothers who defended their communities against white lynch mobs in the bloody summer of 1919, and even our sister Harriet Tubman understood, there is something special about the power of a respectable negro with a gun.

What say you all? Are the racist roots of gun control coincidental to this conversation? Should gun control laws be strictly enforced as a prophylactic against black on black violence? Or will the ign'ts and street pirates always find a way to hurt the good guys? Thus, it is only the honest citizen who is most damaged by overly restrictive handgun laws?

From NBC:

Supreme Court Rules Against Handgun Ban

The Supreme Court today sent Chicago's controversial gun ban back to lower court, saying the Constitution's "right to keep and bear arms" applies nationwide as a restraint on the ability of government to limit its application.

The court issued the 5-4 rulling Monday morning in McDonald vs. City of Chicago, which challenged handgun bans in the City of Chicago and in Oak Park.

In the ruling, the justices signaled that less severe restrictions could survive legal challenges. Read the full ruling here.

In a press conference held hours after the ruling Mayor Daley elicited dissaproval.

Lawson says he's confident the opponents of the ban will prevail in any further legal battle after the court's decision Monday. Those legal challenges are coming though.

"We are digesting the 200 pages and will have something tomorrow to stand up to court's ruling," says Ald Anthony Beale, chairman of Police and Fire Committee.

After SCOTUS eliminated the D.C. ban the city put in place dozens of regulations surrounding handgun ownership. Prospective gun owners in D.C. now are required to take training courses that include spending one hour on a firing range and several hours in a classroom learning about gun safety. They also must pass a 20-question test based on D.C.'s firearm laws.

Since the ban was lifted in D.C., just over 800 guns have been registered in city. The relatively low total comes as the district passed the slew of new requirements that also include being fingerprinted and taking ballistic tests, which could help police track bullets back to specific guns if needed.

"The Supreme Court tore down the wall, and D.C. built up 95 percent of it again," said Richard Gardiner, who is suing the district over the new laws on behalf of Dick Heller, the plaintiff in the original case.

Chicago most likely will create a weapons registry and make that information available to police, firefighters and others who respond to emergencies. Gardiner said the pending lawsuit he filed is fighting a similar registry in D.C.

The city is also thinking about requiring anyone who purchases a gun to also buy insurance — a step Gardiner said D.C. didn't take. But, Daley said, "It's common sense."

Chicago residents seem to disagree.

Some in the neighborhood where an 80-year-old man shot and killed a burglar who'd broken into his home are pleased the U.S. Supreme Court supports their right to own guns for self-defense.

Seventy-eight-year-old Herman Wilder of the West Side neighborhood says he keeps a handgun under his pillow for protection. He says he thanks God for the Supreme Court's decision Monday, which eventually may make that gun legal.

Another neighbor, 50-year-old Charlene Figgins, thinks Chicago Mayor Richard Daley is living in a different Chicago than she is and that he doesn't understand the citizens' need for protection.

She says it can take 30 minutes for police to respond to calls for help in her neighborhood. She says the mayor doesn't have that problem.

"I'm disappointed but its not surprising," Daley said Monday. "We'll publicly propose a new ordinance very soon."

Daley, a passionate anti-gun advocate, said the city council will hold an emergency session to immediately put in place new restrictions.

Plaintiff David Lawson is thrilled with the decision, but also says he expects the city to try to impose severe restrictions on handguns. And Lawson says he also expects those restrictions will be challenged in court.


Shady_Grady said...

I thought it was a good ruling and consistent with the Constitution.

I have never understood why some people are opposed to gun ownership for EVERYBODY. If you don't want to own a gun, don't have one. It really is funny to see Daley pontificate against guns , considering that he is surrounded and protected by men armed with...guns.

geerussell said...

The scope of the crime problem is so broad that private gun ownership really gets overwhelmed by all the other policy/social/economic factors. Depending on how you parse the statistics it might affect crime a couple points in one direction or the other but it's not going to change the bottom line.

Private gun ownership, much like private property rights, is about giving the citizenry leverage against the government. It raises the stakes in confrontation and gives pause to authority. I consider this to be a good thing.

Thought experiment: Does a cop punch a girl in the face if he has the *expectation* that the crowd of respectable negroes surrounding him is armed with both video cameras AND legally carried concealed weapons?

OhCrapIHaveACrushOnSarahPalin said...

Thank you for mentioning the Deacons of Defense and Rob Williams. Christ, I love them.

Tim said...

I'm an admitted knee-jerk opponent to guns. But this post, combined with some reading on the nineteenth-century labor movement in Chicago (apparently labor activists once formed armed militia to counter capital's private armies), is making me rethink the issue. Thanks for the thought provocation.

equa yona(Big Bear) said...

Prohibition doesn't work. Not with alcohol, drugs OR guns. I heartily agree with you.

chaunceydevega said...

@Shady--As always I appreciate your comments, I am pleasantly surprised that we agree...

@Geerussell--We know the po po would have more self control then.

@OhCrap--We have some many honored elders that most don't know of. I get so upset with the black folks were victims narrative where we didn't fight back at every turn. Jim Crow and its enablers were terrified of black folk...rightly so because we fought for our freedom at every moment.

@Tim--Always good to provoke thought. We should have many moments of critical self-reflection.

@Equa--Legalize. Nuff said.