On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Chicago’s handgun ban. Three days later, Mayor Daley announced his plan to make it as difficult as possible for law-abiding citizens to own a handgun. His legislative package bans gun shops from the Windy City. Aspiring handgun owners have to attend a mandatory four-hour firearm safety classes and an hour of range training, followed by a proficiency test. They have to register their handgun with the police. They’re only allowed to register one handgun per month; they have 90 days to register any illegal weapons or face a $5,000 fine and 90 days in jail. So far, so New York. Here’s the kicker . . .
“Each person who keeps or possesses a firearm in his home must keep no more than one firearm in his home that is assembled and operable. All other firearms possessed in the home must be broken down in a nonfunctioning state or shall have trigger lock or other mechanism making the firearm temporarily inoperable.”
In other words, one gun and you’re done (in more ways than one).
Of all the roadblocks the Mayor is erecting to defensive handgun ownership, it’s this novel stricture which most clearly reveals Hizzoner’s intention to violate both the spirit and the letter of the law, as set out by the highest court in the land.
The Supreme Court’s McDonald decision rested upon Americans’ inalienable right to self-defense. Lucky for Daley, the Supreme Court failed to set any parameters to state laws restricting a citizen’s ability to purchase, store or carry a handgun. In fact, they welcomed “reasonable” gun control laws, such as prohibiting felons and mentally ill citizens from access to handguns.
Daley’s minions maintain that the law limiting the city’s handgun owners to one such weapon meets the Supreme Court’s criteria. Apparently, one handgun is “sufficient for self defense.” This statement displays stunning ignorance of the realities of a handgun-based home defense; while presenting the disturbing possibility of City-sanctioned harassment of legal gun owners. First, the practicalities . . .
During a violent home invasion, a homeowner’s life may depend on their ability to get to a self-defense handgun quickly. If the gun is too far away, the homeowner is doomed. Sensible handgun owners keep at least two guns in two places within their home, apartment or condo. That way, there’s always one nearby.
Also, one gun owner may need two different types of weapons to defend their home. They might want to carry a small revolver in their pocket during the day, and keep a larger gun for a gun safe on the night table.
By the same token, two home defenders are better than one. A second resident with access to a second gun could also be the difference between life and death.
Question: if it’s one gun per household, who gets to buy the gun? Why should his right to a gun infringe on a family members’? What gun rights to renters have in this scenario?
More generally, why should the City of Chicago interfere with its citizen’s lawful exercise of their Second Amendment right to bear arms with this “one gun and you’re done” policy? What exactly does society gain by limiting residents to a single gun per household? Will the restriction reduce the number of illegal guns by any important number? Or is the ordinance designed to let Daley persecute, and then prosecute, gun owners who somehow manage to make it run the bureaucratic gauntlet?
There’s only way the Chicago police will know if there’s one gun per household: a search. Why wouldn’t they? The City’s new laws will also require homes with children to lock up their gun at all times. One of Daley’s DAs tells a judge that children are at risk in a given home and the next thing you know the cops come a knockin’. SWAT team and all.
Still, what do you expect from a politician surrounded by armed bodyguards? The Mayor’s willingness to thwart the will of the Supreme Court of the United States to pander to his political base is just one more cynical, despicable betrayal of his oath to serve the people of Chicago and uphold the laws designed to protect them.
Which is why Mr. McDonald asked the Supreme Court to overturn Chicago’s handgun ban. He decided he could no longer rely on corrupt politicians and police to impose the rule of law, to defend himself and his property from criminals. Mr. McDonald took that responsibility onto himself, as is his right as an American. The Supreme Court let him down by leaving the lower courts to determine the definition of a “reasonable” law on gun control.
It will be decades before the dust clears. Meanwhile, Chicago residents will remain defenseless. Their political leaders will have yet another weapon with which they can harass crime-plagued citizens seeking to exercise a right to self-defense guaranteed to them by the U.S. Constitution.