McDonald Case Changes Little for Gun Owner Rights
This legal victory is a step in the right direction, but it doesn’t change the challenges ahead.
by Luke O’Dell, NAGR Director of Operations
Washington, DC--(Ammoland.com)- On June 28th, the Supreme Court ruled that the City of Chicago’s handgun ban was unconstitutional and the right to keep and bear arms is fundamental to the Constitution.
Many have called this a stunning victory, but before you pop the cork on the champagne you’ve been saving for a special occasion, let me warn you: the devil is in the details.
This decision does not fundamentally change our continued need to fight to preserve and advance our right to keep and bear arms.
It’s certainly worth celebrating that Justice Samuel Alito specifically cited NAGR’s amicus curiae brief in the majority decision when he wrote “A clear majority of the States in 1868, therefore, recognized the right to keep and bear arms as being among the foundational rights necessary to our system of Government.” (page 30 of the opinion).
However, Justice Alito also stated, “We made it clear in Heller that our holding did not cast doubt on such longstanding regulatory measures as ‘prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill,’ ‘laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms.’ We repeat those assurances here. Despite municipal respondents’ doomsday proclamations, incorporation does not imperil every law regulating firearms.”
What Justice Alito and the court is saying is simple: your right to keep and bear arms is fundamentally guaranteed so long as you abide by the state and federal laws which restrict those same rights.
In the end, some of the worst gun control may be struck down. In some cases, it may only take a few months. Other cases will grind through repeal after repeal. More Supreme Court cases in 2-5 years are all but guaranteed.
Meanwhile, anti-gunners will seize on every upheld state law as an opportunity to pass new gun control and they will respond to every defeated gun control law with new legislation designed to continue their anti-gun crusade (as Congress did with the gun-free school law after it was struck down and the District of Columbia after losing in the Heller case).
Even anti-gun groups like New Yorkers Against Gun Violence are trumpeting the ruling and pointing out that wording of the ruling means, “your [Second Amendment] rights can be restricted.”
Before the ink was even dry on the ruling, Chicago Mayor Richard Daley was already plotting to pass a host of new restrictions on handgun ownership in Chicago, which may follow the letter of the Court’s decision, but will make the requirements for ownership so onerous that the ban will remain in all but name.
Now more than ever gun owners must be active in the public policy arena. The anti-gunners in Washington D.C. and State Legislatures across the country are sure to be preparing the next round of attacks against our rights.
In D.C., anti-gunners like Diane Feinstein and Chuck Schumer want to ban all private firearms sales, and Hillary Clinton is working hard to force United Nations gun bans on American citizens.
And in states legislatures many of the little details of our right to keep and bear arms are under assault – and are being compromised – every day.
Make no mistake, the McDonald decision is not a magic bullet that will reverse generations of gun control legislation.
The only way to fight the anti-gunners is to organize grassroots activists and to turn up the heat on antigun politicians.
The National Association for Gun Rights was founded in 2001 to serve as a grassroots gun rights group focusing on building state-level gun rights groups and lobbying for pro-gun federal legislation. Brown has been a gun lobbyist for more than 17 years. Visit: www.nationalgunrights.org