On Mar. 2, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the McDonald v. Chicago, and the Daily Caller was there to interview McDonald’s supporters outside the Supreme Court (surprise cameo included!). The petitioners, who sued over a state law banning the possession of handguns in the home, are asking the court to overturn a landmark nineteenth century Supreme Court ruling in theSlaughter-House Cases, which held that the 14th Amendment’s Privileges or Immunities protections did not apply the Bill of Rights (and, with it, the Second Amendment) to state and local governments.
It’s widely believed that 76-year old petitioner Otis McDonald, who wants to carry a handgun in his domicile to scare away gang members, will win when the Court announces its decision. The victory might open the floodgates to similar lawsuits that seek to apply the Privileges or Immunities clause to overturn other restrictions imposed by state laws. Unless the Court decides McDonald’s case on due process grounds, the Clause would be making an unusual zombie-like return — Justice Miller gutted Privileges or Immunities back in 1873 and left it for dead in the fittingly named Slaughter-House Cases(Insofar as a narrow reading of the Constitution can gut or kill anything).
*Note that, to maximize confusion, Privileges or Immunities is a 14th Amendment protection that’s quite distinct from Article 4 Privileges and Immunities protections.
Just two years ago, in D.C. vs. Heller, the high court held that the Second Amendment protects individuals possessing firearms in federal enclaves. That ruling opened up some floodgates of its own and prompted a wave of lawsuits, including McDonald’s.
The Associated Press reported last week that proponents of strict gun control see some, but not much, silver lining:
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.