View Full Version : D.C. gun case may hit Chicago, San Fransico, other major cities

09-12-2007, 9:55 AM
They don't seem happy about it.

D.C. gun case may hit Chicago
City's law is next target if foes win in Supreme Court

By James Oliphant | Washington Bureau
September 5, 2007

WASHINGTON - Those who would do away with Washington's near-total ban on handguns will tell you point-blank their next target: Chicago.

Gun-rights advocates scored a stunning success earlier this year when a three-judge panel of a federal appeals court in Washington swept aside the District of Columbia's ban on owning handguns, which had been in place since 1976.

On Tuesday, the district government appealed the decision to the Supreme Court. If the court takes the case, as many observers believe it will, it could place Chicago's handgun ban, as well as similar laws nationwide, in jeopardy.

"There is reason to be concerned at this point," said Thomas Mannard, executive director of the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence.

"Chicago would be the logical follow-up," said Robert Levy, a libertarian activist who filed the case against the D.C. ban. Levy, too, wants the Supreme Court to take the case, making this a rare instance when both sides in a dispute hope an appeal goes forward.

In a 2-1 decision in March, a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals here said the district's ban violated the Constitution's 2nd Amendment. It was the most affirmative and sweeping embrace of the right to bear arms yet by a federal appellate court.

'We do not need more guns'

That left the D.C. government in a bind. It faced a choice of asking the Supreme Court to take the case and risk triggering a monumental ruling from its conservative majority -- one that could wipe out gun bans across the nation -- or accepting the appeals court decision and reworking its ordinance. It decided to go for broke.

At a news conference Tuesday on the steps of the district's police headquarters, Mayor Adrian Fenty said the city had no choice.

"In the end, the bottom line is that we do not need more guns in this city," said Fenty, flanked by more than a dozen police officers. "The only possible outcome with more handguns is more violence."

As an example of the urgency of the situation, district officials cited the death Sunday of a teenager who was shot by a 15-year-old in a struggle over a handgun. Five people were killed in the district in close to a 24-hour period over the weekend. In Chicago, the homicide rate is down this year by almost 8 percent compared to a year ago, according to the Chicago Police Department, which credits, among others things, an active effort to keep handguns off the streets.

"The handgun ban in Chicago has made the city safer," said Tom Vanden Berk, executive director of UCAN, a Chicago social welfare agency. Vanden Berk's son was killed in crossfire in 1992.

Bans ineffective, critics say

But critics say that while law-abiding residents cannot keep handguns for self-defense, the ban does nothing to prevent the flow of illegal guns into Chicago from surrounding areas where buying a gun is easier. As an example, they cite the city resorting to such tactics as the recent gun buyback, which netted almost 6,000 handguns and assault weapons in exchange for amnesty and $100 debit cards.

The first sweeping gun ban in the nation was passed by Morton Grove, Ill., in 1981. After it was upheld by the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, the Supreme Court declined to hear the case. That gave such cities as Chicago reason to believe that their gun bans were bulletproof. But a Supreme Court ruling now would trump the 7th Circuit decision.

If the high court were to endorse a broad view of the 2nd Amendment in the D.C. case, it would be a short step for Levy and other gun-rights activists to argue that the amendment also applies to such municipal ordinances as the Chicago ban.

The district's decision to appeal has left gun-control advocates angst-ridden. They worry that the district's case isn't the best positioned for Supreme Court review and fear a precedent that could have a cascade effect across the nation.

"There are obvious risks to taking this particular case before this particular court," said Dennis Henigan, legal director of the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence.

The Supreme Court has not directly ruled on the scope of the 2nd Amendment since 1939, and regardless, Henigan said, the current court is "comfortable disregarding very old precedents." Added Kristen Rand, legislative director of the Violence Policy Center in Washington: "I think you can rest assured that virtually every gun law in the country would be at risk."

D.C.'s attorney general, Linda Singer, said the district could not worry about the effect a negative ruling would have on other cities. "Our responsibility is to the District of Columbia," Singer said.

- - -

Chicago gun ban similar to Washington's

The Chicago handgun ban is considered a close cousin of the District of Columbia law, which prohibits the possession of handguns in the home but permits ownership of rifles and shotguns. The Chicago ordinance, enacted in 1983, bars the ownership of handguns and assault weapons and mandates that guns owned before the ban must be reregistered every two years.

09-12-2007, 7:02 PM
Damn I hope so...just to see that look on Schmuck's and Daly's face (both cities).:43:

09-13-2007, 2:16 AM
good lord.

gee, civilians may be able to have guns for self-defense. Truly shocking. Can't have that in a civilized country now can we? Hugs for everyone!!!!:rolleyes:

"In the end, the bottom line is that we do not need more guns in this city," said Fenty, flanked by more than a dozen police officers. "The only possible outcome with more handguns is more violence."

yes, you civilians need no handguns. You should not even have assembled long guns. I am saying this with the protection of 12+ cops and i can speak for all of you out there, you don't need a gun. Just call the police and they will be there...oh wait, what was that? what about Warren v. District of Columbia? what about "a government and its agents are under no general duty to provide public services, such as police protection, to any particular individual citizen."

09-13-2007, 8:43 AM
(Yelling) Criminals don't care about gun bans or laws!!