Friday, July 20, 2012

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again, and again, and again, and …

I’ll give the City Council one bit of credit. They seem determined to pass into local law a measure that they can call a ban on firearms within city limits.

Even though the courts these days are in a mood to provide an overly-broad interpretation to the Second Amendment and has repeatedly gone out of its way to strike down the city’s measures, the City Council is trying yet again.

THE COUNCIL ON Thursday passed a new version of the law they originally implemented in the early 1980s that was meant to make mere possession of a firearm a crime.

It did express the sentiment of a significant majority of urban residents. But it infuriates the NRA-types to the point where they don’t want some other community expressing a sentiment different from those of their rural-oriented membership.

So the broad ban got knocked down a couple of years ago by the Supreme Court of the United States. That got the city to pass a new, somewhat restricted, measure.

But a federal judge in Chicago managed to find flaws with that version, ruling last month that people cannot be denied gun permits just because they have prior criminal records.

THIS NEW VERSION recommended Thursday by the council’s Public Safety committee tries to further restrict that intent – saying that only people with convictions for felonies that are violent can have a lifetime ban on being able to own a firearm in Chicago.

All others would be restricted for up to five years, if their “guilty” verdict is for a misdemeanor violent crime.

The full City Council is expected to give this measure final approval later this month. Although I’m sure it won’t take long for the “gun-nut” types to want to file a lawsuit challenging the legitimacy of any effort to restrict firearm possession.

In fact, I’m wondering if 36th Ward Alderman Nick Sposata inadvertently came up with the point upon which the NRA types will base their next fight – the Chicago Sun-Times reported that the alderman said it was wrong that 18-year-olds could vote, enlist in the military and live on their own, but would still have to get a parents’ permission to get a gun permit IF they are under 21.

WILL THE NATIONAL Rifle Association find some 19-year-old who claims his “constitutional” rights are being challenged because he’s not permitted to purchase a weapon?

I don’t doubt that they will try to nitpick this issue to the point where city officials lose the will to continue the fight. Or else these ideologues will view the issue the way they all too often view abortion – try to put so many restrictions on it that it becomes next-to-impossible to obtain.

Will they want gun bans so limited that they apply to virtually nothing? I’m glad to see that such a point has not yet been reached.

Personally, I’m inclined to think that the city and its attorneys have scaled this issue back to the point where it fits within the narrow confines that the courts are bringing about.

BECAUSE EVEN THESE same courts have ruled that restrictions on people with serious criminal offenses on their records are legitimate. Which ought to be such a common-sense concept we should all be in agreement!

After all, we allow for people to lose their driver’s license if they show they can’t be trusted. Why should a firearm permit be any different? The circumstances that led to firearms being included in the constitutional amendments (cars didn’t exist back in the late 1700s) have changed so much that I will always believe the Second Amendment is the one obsolete provision.

For those who can’t agree, it would just seem that the homicide rate in Chicago in recent years (on the rise, after having been declining for a decade prior to that) ought to be evidence that perhaps a different solution than what might be applicable in a place like Towanda, Ill., ought to be used.


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