Monday, June 28, 2010

Supremes Rule: Chicago’s Gun Control Laws Violate the 14th Amendment

Is the Supreme Court ruling on individual gun ownership “dramatic“? Indeed it is, given the route the majority chose.

Here, on page five of the document,


[June 28, 2010]

we get to the heart of the ruling. It is not the 2nd Amendment itself, but the 14th Amendment, Article 1, which provides the legal buttress for the right to keep and bear arms:

JUSTICE THOMAS agreed that the Fourteenth Amendment makes the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms that was recognized inDistrict of Columbia v. Heller…fully applicable to the States.

However, he asserted, there is a path to this conclusion that is more straightforward and more faithful to the Second Amendment’s text and history. The Court is correct in describing the Second Amendment right as “fundamental” to the American scheme of ordered liberty, Duncan v. Louisiana, 391 U. S. 145, 149, and “deeply rooted in this Nation’s history and traditions,” Washington v. Glucksberg, 521 U. S. 702, 721.

But the Fourteenth Amendment’s Due Process Clause, which speaks only to “process,” cannot impose the type of substantive restraint on state legislation that the Court asserts. Rather, the right to keep and bear arms is enforceable against the States because it is a privilege of American citizenship recognized by §1 of the Fourteenth Amendment, which provides, inter alia: “No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States.”

In interpreting this language, it is important to recall that constitutional provisions are “ ‘written to be understood by the voters.’..

The objective of this inquiry is to discern what “ordinary citizens” at the time of the Fourteenth Amendment’s ratification would have understood that Amendment’s Privileges or Immunities Clause to mean…

A survey of contemporary legal authorities plainly shows that, at that time, the ratifying public understood the Clause to protect constitutionally enumerated rights, including the right to keep and bear arms.

The opinions broke along predictable lines - i.e., John Paul Stevens, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor and Stephen Breyer dissented, calling the “historical evidence…ambiguous”…
- - - - - - - - -
The majority - Alito, Scalia, Kennedy, Thomas, led by Chief Justice Roberts, were not individually named by the CNN blog report linked above. I don’t understand this omission, given that the dissenters were individually checked off. Is the omission a small but telling point about CNN?

This decision is not the end of it. Perhaps, though, it is the beginning of the end.

Chicago’s strict gun control laws are typical of left wing thinking about the dangers to the public purportedly arising from gun ownership. Chicago persists in this thinking even as illegal gun ownership has made parts of the city prime killing fields for criminals.

The Chicago laws are cynical in the extreme. Note this report, dated in May:

The city’s troubles are so extreme that a pair of state lawmakers are calling on a fellow Democrat, Gov. Pat Quinn, to deploy the National Guard to help restore calm. The latest figures show that Chicago had racked up 122 homicides for the year, exceeding the 116 killings over the comparable period in 2009, a very bad year. Among the top 10 U.S. cities, Chicago is within shooting distance of advancing from second place to win the dubious distinction of being the U.S. murder capital. It’s no coincidence that the Windy City is already the U.S. gun-control capital.

Since 1982, Chicago has banned the private ownership of handguns and rifles by requiring a convoluted registration process designed to be impossible to complete. Exceptions to the rules enable politicians and their personal friends to own and even carry handguns - but nobody else. This unconstitutional scheme has been a colossal failure.

Just as the Left is blind to the laws of economics, it is equally resistant to learning from experience when it comes to gun ownership. Not so resistant that it prevents those in power from owning weapons, however. Another example of “laws for thee but not for me” so favored by those in control.

Glenn Reynolds notes:

Very interesting to see both the majority and Justice Thomas reference the racist roots of gun control so strongly…

His observation reminded me of the Deacons for Defense and Justice, a group of blacks in the South who believed in armed self-defense against an entrenched hatred that often led to killings of innocent black people, particularly black men.

The myth of Martin Luther King’s touted “non-violence” as a way to bring about justice steadfastly ignores the reality of King’s armed body guards and the arsenal of weapons kept in his home - kept there illegally, by the way. Dr. King couldn’t get a gun permit.

Given the times, King’s public image as the American Gandhi was probably good strategy; it reassured the fearful white majority and no doubt prevented much bloodshed. However, the armed “Deacons of Defense” were as vital and necessary a part of the struggle as was Dr. King’s approach.

An isolated farm surrounded by the sudden arrival of truckloads of hatred in the middle of the night could change the equation instantly with the judicious application of one shot over the heads of those hate-mongers. It didn’t solve the problem instantly, but it allowed enough time for the troublemakers to sober up. One armed black farmer lived to plow another day.

This part of black history has been neglected; I hope that the coming generations will pay the respect of close attention due these men.

Here's a reader's review from that page:

This is truly a lost history of the civil rights movement that author Lance Hill has found under the layers upon layers of mainstream narratives which conveniently dictate false truths that - when repeated enough - become larger than life.

Following the organized self-defense philosophy espoused by Robert F. Williams in Monroe, N.C., a small group of men in Jonesboro, Louisiana, founded an organization that had great influence in the civil rights movement of the mid-1960s. The success the Deacons had in defeating the KKK and other haters on the streets by standing up, moving forward and staring them down with guns loaded brought a new sense of empowerment in demanding that justice truly be served today.

When Chicago’s unconstitutional gun control law is finally swept aside, perhaps part of the hoked-up Leftist narrative about Dr. King will go with it.

One can hope. Let's wait and see what Mark Steyn has to say about it.


Inalienable Rights said...

Who do you think will be the first to report the dramatic drop in crime in Chicago that will occur over the next 5 years?

no2liberals said...

Otis McDonald is an American hero, though he preferred living an unassuming life.

Otis McDonald:I'm So Happy

The Supreme Court's 5-4 split decision found that the Constitutional right to keep and bear arms “applies equally to the federal government and the states” - and McDonald, the African American son of Louisiana sharecroppers, said he got emotional as the ruling came down.

“I was feeling the poor blacks who years ago had their guns taken away from them and were killed as someone wished. That was a long time ago, but I feel their spirit. That's what I was feeling in the courtroom. It was rough on me that way,” McDonald said.

Meanwhile, in D.C., crime is down since the Heller case.

Washington’s murder rate has plummeted -- falling by 25 percent in 2009 alone. This compares with a national drop of only 7 percent last year. And D.C.'s drop has continued this year.

Comparing Washington’s crime rates from January 1 to June 17 of this year to the same period in 2008, shows a 34 percent drop in murder. This drop puts D.C.'s murder rate back to where it was before the 1977 handgun ban. Indeed, the murder rate is as low as was before 1967.

For the left, it is about controlling the populace, constitution be damned.

“Firearms stand next in importance to the Constitution itself. They are the people’s liberty teeth keystone… the rifle and the pistol are equally indispensable… more than 99% of them by their silence indicate that they are in safe and sane hands. The very atmosphere of firearms everywhere restrains evil interference. When firearms go, all goes, we need them every hour.” (George Washington address to 1st session of Congress)

Those who founded this country and fought for freedom and liberty understood how important this issue was. That so many don't know this is deeply disturbing.
That so few can extinguish our rights if we aren't vigilant, will be our demise.

One_of_the_last_few_Patriots_left said...

If you are thinking of grabbing a shovel and going out into the swamp to dig up your firearms, I would strongly suggest that you wait. Notice that although this decision was in our favor, it was by a razor-thin 5 to 4, just like the Heller decision. Our rights hang by a thread.

"The opinions broke along predictable lines - i.e., John Paul Stevens, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor and Stephen Brewer dissented, calling the "historical evidence...ambiguous...'"

The historical evidence is "ambiguous" only because these greasy lawyers are Marxist imbeciles who want to transform America into a Euro-weenie socialist state. They will, of course, succeed when Barak packs the Supreme Court with just one more treasonous dog.

"...Chicago has banned the private ownership of handguns and rifles by requiring a convoluted registration process designed to be impossible to complete."

And they will rewrite their laws to make them just as turgid and unworkable as they were before.

"Exceptions to the rules enable politicians and their personal friends to own and even carry handguns - but nobody else."

Well, certainly! Didn't you know that the "right" of self-defense belongs only to the politically well connected, the mayor's sycophants, cronies and bootlickers. If you cannot pony up, oh, about $10,000 in "campaign contributions" then you are just little people and your life is not worth protecting.

Read that again: YOU are LITTLE PEOPLE and your life is NOT WORTH PROTECTING.

I expect that when Barak Hussein Obama packs the Supreme Court with one or two more liberal loony-tune Quislings, this decision will be overturned, as we MUST be disarmed in order to facilitate the Mexican reconquista. I expect TREACHERY.