I have had conflicting feelings over the Supreme Court's decision that the hand gun ban in Washington D.C. is unconstitutional.
Unless I've misheard the local news, there are deaths or injuries due to gun violence, in a city which has the ban, just about every day.
Therefore, is this decision even relevant? The Mayor of Chicago thinks so.
"Does this lead to everyone having a gun in our society?" Daley asked while speaking at a Navy Pier event. "If [the justices] think that's the answer, then they're greatly mistaken. Then 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 it in the streets?"(Daley Vows to Fight for Chicago’s Gun Ban)
The new Chicago police superintendent was also angry about the ruling:
"From a law enforcement perspective, this will no doubt make a police officer's job more challenging than it already is, particularly since a firearm is used in 75 percent of all murders committed in the city of Chicago." (Daley Vows to Fight for Chicago’s Gun Ban)
And the above quote is exactly why this decision is not tugging violently at my liberal heart strings. There simply is not clear cut evidence that the gun ban has reduced violent crime. If someone wants to kill someone else, or if someone feels he needs a gun for protection, he will acquire one, no matter the ban.
The Chicago Police Department seized more than 13,000 guns last year, but only a handful of people were arrested for violating the city's handgun ban, records show. Chicago Police spokeswoman Monique Bond said 74 people were arrested in 2007 and 83 people in 2006 for failing to register their handguns, an ordinance violation. "Criminals will continue to carry guns, and law-abiding citizens will continue to keep them in their homes for self-defense," one commander said. (Cops: Few arrested for violating ban)
Still I can't help but think that it's a bad idea for every person in the city to have the ability to go out and buy a handgun for their personal use.
My concern has nothing to do with social justice. Hand gun violence affects the poor no matter if guns are banned or not. In fact, I am very Republican about this issue. I fear that lifting the gun ban will affect my own personal safety.
The practical concern with this ruling is will an improbable lift of the ban lead to a proliferation of hand guns throughout the city of Chicago and cause my life to be at risk? For example, when I cut someone off, and if he has road rage, is he going to shoot me, whereas before he might just have run me off the road? Or will my neighbor, who I’ve heard fight with his boyfriend, one day in a drunken rage shoot his lover with the gun he just purchased at the local gun shop, the bullet ricocheting somehow into my bedroom leading to my ultimate demise. If a Republican wins the next election, will the people in the high rise across the street shoot guns out their windows, and will a bullet slip through my open window leading to my paralysis?
The majority opinion argued that the right to own arms is based on the principle of self defense as provided by the Second Amendment. Assuming I would buy a gun, how would that help if someone shoots at me intentionally or unintentionally? Perhaps I should invest in my own type of missile defense system that I remember hearing about when the President of my childhood, Ronald Reagan led this country during the Cold War.
When the Second Amendment was written, were there high rises and urban crowding? Was there road rage? Were there even hand guns?
Chicago’s gun ban probably isn’t solving the tragic loss of life of inner city youth. This decision by the Supreme Court is merely a distraction from the hard work that needs to be done to fight poverty and gang violence.
With that said, here is my question:
why is my right not be killed by a hand gun less valid than my right to own one? I guess the right not to be killed by a handgun is not protected in the Bill of Rights. Although I do remember reading something about “life and liberty.”
(Daley Vows to Fight for Chicago’s Gun Ban)
(Cops: Few arrested for violating ban)