Following the Supreme Court’s ruling in McDonald v. Chicago, which struck down the city’s ban on handguns, officials are fighting back hard. In the words of Mayor Richard Daley, the city “will publicly propose a new ordinance very soon,” that will restrict gun ownership without violating the court’s decision.
That means miles of new red tape and regulations Chicagoans will have to go through to legally obtain a handgun even though the right to bear arms is actually considered a “right.”
The suit in Chicago was filed days after the court ruled in 2008 in DC v. Heller, that Washington D.C.’s ban on guns was unconstitutional. That decision opened up the door for a slew of lawsuits because the court was not clear whether their decision applied to cities and states.
In McDonald v. Chicago, the Supreme Court justices decided 5-4 that the Heller decision could be incorporated to the states via the due process clause in the 14th Amendment.
But what seems like a victory for gun-rights advocates that will make it easier for citizens to own firearms, the ruling may not make much difference in Chicago. That is, if Mayor Daley gets his way.
“We’re working to rewrite our ordinance in a reasonable and responsible way to protect our 2nd Amendment rights and protect Chicagoans from gun violence,” Daley said in a recent press release.
“Gun violence is not just a Chicago problem, it is an American problem,” said Daley. “And, it will continue until we understand that there are reasonable and responsible steps we can take as a nation to help end the needless gun violence that irresponsible people bring on our friends and family.”
Although the specifics of the new ordinance have yet to be made public, those “reasonable and responsible steps” will most likely resemble those in D.C. There, residents are forced to take training courses, spend a certain amount of time on a firing range, and pass a 20-question test on guns laws.
None of which are exactly cheap for hopeful gun owners to pay for, or the city to provide. And it is those kinds of regulations that give gun advocates reason to worry.
Larry Pratt, executive director of Gun Owners of America, told The Daily Caller that while the principle that the 2nd Amendment now applies to the whole country is significant, the battle is far from over.
“The challenge now is to attack licensing schemes that are almost just as bad as a ban,” said Pratt. “Now, most people just give up or can’t afford it … Chicago is very likely to do what was done in D.C., which is pretty outrageous.”
It is “outrageous,” according to Pratt, because D.C. and Chicago have consistently had some of the highest crime rates in the country despite their gun bans. In Chicago for instance, the crime rate reached its apex in 1992 — a full 10 years after the gun ban was implemented. That year, the murder rate was 34 per 100,000. In 2004, Chicago experienced a year with the lowest murder rate since 1965, but it was still above the national average.
So why does Chicago struggle with crime even though it has outright banned guns since the early 1980s?
“Chicago is surrounded by states with weak gun laws,” Daniel Vice, senior attorney for the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, told the Daily Caller. According to Vice, all evidence shows guns laws reduce crime rates.
When pressed by TheDC to explain why Chicago might have a high murder rate while simultaneously having a ban on guns, Vice responded: “Chicago doesn’t have a wall around it.”
Mayor Daley, who promised in his press conference to “stand up and fight” to get guns off the streets, probably wishes it did though. “We are a country of laws, not a nation of guns,” he said.
While Daley continues to fight for gun control laws, others will pursue the fight for gun rights — possibly challenging laws in New York City next.
Pratt, for one, is not convinced of Daley’s argument. “Mayor Daley is really an embarrassment,” he told TheDC. “He is lecturing us on the need for Draconian gun laws, but the rest of the country has lower violence rate. The mayor needs to shut up and listen to rest of the country and apply those lessons.”
Daley’s Chicago office has not yet responded to requests by TheDC to comment.