Gun supporters say ruling a big step forward

Chicago – For thousands of gun owners in Illinois, June 28 was a
victorious day – though many realize changing gun laws in the state
is still a battle.

The U.S. Supreme Court handed down its much anticipated decision
in the case of McDonald vs. Chicago, as they overturned Chicago’s
long-time ban on handguns. The Court deemed that the 14th amendment
incorporates the Second Amendment and “The right of the people to
keep and bear arms shall not be infringed” is a right protected
even from state and local governments.

Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. issued that the right to have a gun
for self defense in the home is a “fundamental” right. The Court
didn’t specifically terminate the handgun ban. Alternatively, they
ordered it to be reconsidered by a federal appeals court.
Ultimately though, the 28-year-old statutes are expected to
crumble.

The verdict didn’t exactly come by way of a landslide. Instead,
the win was achieved by a slim margin of 5-4. Chicago Mayor Richard
M. Daley commented in a press release that he was “disappointed but
not surprised” by the high Court’s ruling.

Though Chicago was the primary focus in McDonald vs. Chicago,
the case could inadvertently pave the way for concealed carry in
Illinois. Illinois’ legislators will be forced to look at the issue
closely.

Richard Pearson, executive director of the Illinois State Rifle
Association, said his organization is pleased, but that there is
still much work to be done.

“As happy as we are with the Court’s decision, it’s merely a
cornerstone to a much larger effort to fully restore law-abiding
citizen’s rights guaranteed by the Second Amendment,” Pearson said.
“In the months ahead, our legal staff will be analyzing Illinois
gun control statutes along with local firearm restrictions to
assess their compliance with the McDonald decision.”

Valinda Rowe, spokesperson for Illinoiscarry.com, said that Daley
can’t make his decisions alone and recommends that “if you are a
resident of Chicago, contact your alderman today and demand that
they support your constitutional right to keep and bear arms.”

Frederick Jones, who is Otis McDonald’s agent, said that
McDonald is “well-pleased” by the decision. When asked how he felt
as he exited court on, McDonald replied, “I feel great!”

At the first public forum by the ISRA since the ruling – held at
Chicago State University on June 30 – it was noted that Daley will
likely push for a strict handgun ordinance to replace its doomed
gun ban that will likely include limiting each resident to a single
handgun and prohibiting gun stores from setting up shop in the
city.

The ruling was a victory for gun rights supporters nationwide,
but many also said they expected state and local governments to
draft laws to impede gun ownership.

Wayne LaPierre, executive vice president of the National Rifle
Association, said he expects the same from other municipalities as
well, saying the NRA “will continue to work at every level to
insure that defiant city councils and cynical politicians do not
transform this constitutional victory into a practical defeat
through Byzantine regulations and restrictions.”

Daley didn’t specify what measures he intends to push, but he
said he planned to move quickly to get them in front of the City
Council, saying that it is possible a special session will be
called to address the issue.

He said he’s considering creating a registry of the names and
addresses of everyone in the city who legally owns a handgun, which
would be made available to police officers, firefighters and other
“first responders” before they arrive at the scene of
emergencies.

The mayor also said Chicago might follow the District of
Columbia’s lead in requiring prospective gun owners to take
training courses that include several hours of classroom learning
about gun safety and passing a 20-question test.

In southern Illinois, Sen. John O. Jones, R-Mount Vernon, who
has introduced or co-sponsored concealed carry legislation, said he
intends to introduce legislation again in January. But this time,
due to the Supreme Court decision, Jones thinks the legislation may
move forward.

“The last few years, only two states, Illinois and Wisconsin,
have been without concealed carry rights,” Jones told the Mount
Vernon Register-News. “We’ve tried and tried to convince Chicago
legislators that people have the right to bear arms. The court
ruling means we’ve been right all along.”

Jones said he believes more northern Illinois legislators are
learning about firearms and realize they can be used safely.

“I’m working with the Illinois Rifle Association and the
National Rifle Association to draft the bill to give people the
rights to carry a concealed weapon,” Jones said.

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