Friday, June 27, 2008

Chicago officials are going to have to fight for the right to keep their firearms ban

Social conservatives from rural communities like to say they are trying to protect their approach to life from outsiders, particularly urban types who they think show disdain for their beliefs.

Yet it often turns out to be just the opposite, as evidenced by the reaction of the activists who get worked up over firearms ownership issues. When the Supreme Court of the United States struck down the handgun ban that exists in the District of Columbia, the activists' first reaction was to say they were now going to go after the gun ordinances that exist in Chicago.

THE NATIONAL RIFLE Association says it considers the gun ordinances in Chicago and San Francisco to be just as onerous as what existed in the national capital. They are hoping that federal judges appointed by decades of Republican presidents will strike down the gun bans that exist in our city and others of likeminded views.

Insofar as Chicago is concerned, the City Council’s knee-jerk reaction to the assassination attempt on then-President Ronald Reagan was to ban the sale or ownership of handguns within city limits.

Basically, anybody who lives in the city of Chicago who has acquired a firearm since 1982 is in violation of the law. City residents who go to gun dealers in the inner suburbs to purchase firearms commit a crime when they bring the weapons home – similar to how Illinois residents can legally purchase fireworks in neighboring Indiana but cannot legally have or use them in their homes.

I can remember my days as a police reporter for the now-defunct City News Bureau when a police sergeant explained that an outright ban made it easier for police to control gun-related crime by eliminating various categories by which some firearms would be legal under some circumstances, but not others.

IT ELIMINATED LOOPHOLES by which people might try to claim their weapon is legal, while their neighbors’ is not.

As police explained it to me back then (and which they have a legitimate point), no one in an urban environment seriously is going hunting for sport. People who seriously see something “athletic” about firearms and competitive shooting are going to want more space than can be found in an urban environment.

The argument that legitimate sportsmen are having their rights impinged upon was absurd. Police in general, and the cops of Chicago in particular, are never going to be mistaken for some liberal-minded organization.

To me, the fact that legitimate law enforcement personnel are in support of these extreme firearms bans is the evidence that it is the people who oppose bans who are the radical fringe of our society – and not the norm, as the NRA would have us think.

I’M SORT OF willing to concede that in a rural community near open areas, the hunting aspect of firearms creates a different situation. While a part of me subscribes to the old joke that hunting will be a sport the day that deer are armed with an AK-47 and can shoot back at the hunters, I’m willing to admit that those rural communities might have some reason for having differing laws than the urban areas.

That is the case.

These are city-only ordinances that ban firearms sales, although select suburban towns in the Chicago area (most notably, Morton Grove, Ill.) have gone so far as to impose their own bans on firearm ownership within their boundaries.

That’s why the fact that the NRA and its allies are eager to shoot down Chicago’s gun ordinances strikes me as perverse. It’s almost like they want to impose a small-town, rural mentality that is completely inappropriate to the third-largest populated city in this country.

THEY DEFINITELY WANT to play politics with the issue of firearm ownership, hoping to score a few more rural votes by bashing around what they want to perceive as the “big bad wolf” of Chicago.

Why else would Republican presidential hopeful John McCain have bothered to bring up the issue on Thursday, praising the Supreme Court’s ruling and reminding people that his likely opponent, Barack Obama, hails from Chicago.

It’s probably just a matter of time before GOP aides remind us of ties between Obama and the Rev. Michael Pfleger, who has devoted years of his life as a priest to trying to fight the spread of firearms in his Gresham neighborhood parish and surrounding inner-city neighborhoods.

For his part, Mayor Richard M. Daley is bracing himself for a fight with the NRA, as he wants the courts to ultimately maintain the city’s gun sale ban. He is skeptical, as are many law enforcement personnel, that it is realistic to expect people to be able to protect themselves by allowing them to carry handguns on their person.

“DOES THIS LEAD to everyone having a gun in our society? If they think that’s the answer, then they’re greatly mistaken,” Daley told reporters. “Why don’t we do away with the court system and go back to the Old West? You have a gun and I have a gun and we’ll settle in the streets.”

Specifically of the Supreme Court’s action, Daley said, “They’re changing the rules. Why should we as a city not be able to protect ourselves from those who want guns in our society?”
Basically, Chicago is going to become a new legal battlefield for people who want to have the courts impose rules that somehow maintain a rural sensibility to this country – even though this country has long ceased to be urban-oriented (the typical American these days lives in a suburb of a major city).

THAT IS WHY towns like Kennesaw, Ga. – the town that reacted to Morton Grove’s gun ownership ban by imposing its own law requiring all households to own at least one firearm – are just ridiculous.

Kennesaw officials like to spew statistics claiming their crime rate has declined. When one considers how small the population is in that Southern town, it doesn’t take much of a drop to create a large percentage decline in crime.

It also would mean that differing circumstances exist there than in Chicago. Trying to move Chicago more in the direction of Kennesaw is just misguided.


EDITOR’S NOTES: The right-leaning Supreme Court’s elimination of the District of Columbia’s gun ordinances ( are giving activists motivation to go after Chicago’s bans on handguns within city limits.

Chicago and San Francisco are getting ready to fight in court to keep their gun sales ( restrictions in place.

Supporters of the handgun sales bans in Chicago want to believe that the now-invalid Washington, D.C. law ( was so much stricter than what exists anywhere else that there will not be a large-scale legal effect by Thursday’s Supreme Court ruling.

The far right has been demonizing Rev. Michael Pfleger since before his comments about Hillary R. Clinton’s presidential campaign (, as he has long taken an active role in trying to fight the spread of firearms in the city from suburban gun dealers.


Anonymous said...

I have lived in the city my entire 45 years and have been hunting since my teens. I have a number of friends and friends of friends who hunt and go target practicing. I'm not asking for your approval on what I like doing so don't restrict hunting on the simple basis that you don't understand nor partake in thises activities nor restrict on how I feel I should protect myself, family and home.
FBI stats on crime show that Chicago crime has risen since the handgun ban which our Mayor continues to ignore.
Eight states in the USA have restrictively administered discretionary-issue systems for right to carry (RTC) guns. Only two; Illinois and Wisconsin—have no permit system and prohibit carrying. 20 years ago there were 2 states with a right to carry but with the overwelming stats in reduced crime most every state in the USA adopted a right to carry law and seen crime reduced.
interesting facts:
" • More RTC, less crime: Violent crime rates since 2003 have been lower than anytime since the mid-1970s.1 Since 1991, 23 states have adopted RTC, the number of privately-owned guns has risen by nearly 70 million,2 and violent crime is down 38%. In 2006, the most recent year for which complete data are available, RTC states had lower violent crime rates, on average, compared to the rest of the country (total violent crime by 26%; murder, 31%; robbery, 50%; and aggravated assault, 15%).3

• RTC and crime trends: Studying crime trends in every county in the U.S., John Lott and David Mustard found, “allowing citizens to carry concealed weapons deters violent crimes and it appears to produce no increase in accidental deaths. If those states which did not have Right to Carry concealed gun provisions had adopted them in 1992, approximately 1,570 murders; 4,177 rapes; and over 60,000 aggravated assaults would have been avoided yearly....[W]hen state concealed handgun laws went into effect in a county, murders fell by 8.5 percent, and rapes and aggravated assaults fell by 5 and 7 percent.”4

• RTC a success in every state: Former Colorado Asst. Atty. Gen. David Kopel has written, “Whenever a state legislature first considers a concealed carry bill, opponents typically warn of horrible consequences....But within a year of passage, the issue usually drops off the news media’s radar screen, while gun-control advocates in the legislature conclude that the law wasn’t so bad after all.”5 A article on Michigan’s RTC law noted, “Concerns that permit holders would lose their tempers in traffic accidents have been unfounded. Worries about risks to police officers have also proved unfounded....National surveys of police show they support concealed handgun laws by a 3-1 margin....There is also not a single academic study that claims Right to Carry laws have increased state crime rates. The debate among academics has been over how large the benefits have been.”6>>>

Levois said...

The fact that law abiding citizen want guns isn't dangerous in and of itself. I have no problem with the city saying I can't carry a gun when I'm walking city streets, but don't keep me from protecting myself and my property with a gun. It's less about hunting to me and more about self-defense although there are other ways to defend yourself with or without a gun. The logic used by the gun control crowd assumes that anyone with a gun will act crazy and that's unfortunate.

JBP said...

Pfleger is being demonized? Good Morning America runs a puff-piece on a racist who makes death threats, and any corrective is considered demonizing.

That is just absurb. Sensible people of all political stripes can and should condemn about99% of what Fr. Pfleger is doing.

Tell me, was Sen. Obama demonizing Fr. Pfleger when he distanced himself from the buffoonery at Trinity?


Rickahyatt said...

WOW! I've never been the in presence of a true CHICOM head PSYOPS artist, before! I stand, well, humbled...
A real, live "Manchurian Candidate..."
Well, I think he's right. LET NO N******, NO WHITE TRA**, NO ELDERLY PERSON the right to present arms to the high-ranking and low-ranking corrupt Chicago is so full of!
(Like this guy?)
Yeah, let the high-ranking corrupt RULE!
(Or just wait for some "Natural" disaster strike that area, and what this LIBERAL GRAB A GUN SO FAST YOU'D BETTER DUCK!
For Liberals... Talk lots with pomposity - But can't shoot straight worth S****.

Anonymous said...

If it is really true that:

- firearms cannot be used to defend onesself, and
- allowing people to possess handguns will turn Chicago into the Wild West,

then why are Chicago politicians allowed to carry handguns? After all, handguns are no good for personal defense, right? And why aren't the Council members shooting each other during arguments in City Council meetings?