Supreme Court decides on Chicago guns

In a long-awaited decision, the Supreme Court has decided 5-4 against Chicago’s gun ban in McDonald v. Chicago. The Chicago Tribune notes that Chicago will soon consider new gun laws and that the decision seems to be motivated in part by current conditions in the city:

In the majority opinion, written by Justice Samuel Alito, the court noted a recent call by two state legislators to deploy National Guard troops to quell the violence on Chicago’s streets.

“The legislators noted that the number of Chicago homicide victims during the current year equaled the number of American soldiers killed during that same period in Afghanistan and Iraq,” the opinion stated.

“If (the) safety of . . . law abiding members of the community would be enhanced by the possession of handguns in the home for self-defense, then the Second Amendment right protects the rights of minorities and other residents of high-crime areas whose needs are not being met by elected public officials.”…

Read the full decision here.

Alito’s argument (summed up briefly in the article above) is interesting: Chicago may have lost this case because the crime rate, particularly murder rate, remains high even with a gun ban. Chicago’s ban has not limited the number of guns in the hands of violent actors. If violent actors can get guns even with a ban, Alitio suggests local citizens should have the tools to be able to fight back, particularly citizens “whose needs are not being met by elected public officials.” This is a case about a law but this statement in particular is a Supreme opinion regarding the abilities of Chicago government.

UPDATE 11:13 PM 6/28/10: Some Chicago officials also read some of the decision as an attack on the performance of Chicago’s police and government. Read here.

UPDATE 7:08 AM 6/29/10:  Links to more coverage:  Chicago Sun-Times, National Law Journal, ABA JournalNew York TimesWall Street JournalNRA press release

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