GOA and GOF File Brief in Chicago Handgun Ban Case

Gun Owners of America E-Mail Alert
8001 Forbes Place, Suite 102, Springfield, VA 22151
Phone: 703-321-8585 / FAX: 703-321-8408
http://www.gunowners.org

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

On Monday, November 23, 2009, Gun Owners of America and Gun Owners Foundation filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the United States Supreme Court in support of four Chicago residents seeking to invalidate a city ordinance prohibiting them from owning or possessing a handgun in their own home.

Just one year and ninth months previously, GOA and GOF filed a similar brief in support of a Washington, D.C. resident who was seeking relief from an almost identical city ordinance.

On June 26, 2008, in District of Columbia v. Heller, the United States Supreme Court ruled that the D.C. ordinance was unconstitutional because an absolute ban on handgun ownership and possession “infringed” on the D.C. citizen’s right to keep and bear arms as secured by the Second Amendment.

“The question now before the Court is whether an American citizen who resides in Chicago, Illinois has the same right to keep or bear arms as the American citizen who resides in the District of Columbia,” said GOA Executive Director Larry Pratt.

“Since both residents are American citizens, it seems logical that both ought to have the same rights,” Pratt said.

According to Heller, the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms belongs to “all Americans.”  The current GOA brief, which is supported by seven other like-minded organizations, contends that this right extends to every American citizen without regard to state of residence.

That argument is based on the Fourteenth Amendment’s straightforward prohibition against any state that makes or enforces any law that “abridge[s] the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States.”

By relying expressly on this “privileges and immunities” clause, the GOA brief urges the Court not to use a gun rights case to extend the power of the federal judiciary to impose its predilections upon the states in unrelated areas, such as business regulation and moral license.

Gun Owners of America and Gun Owners Foundation usually take the side that is against the federal government because it has become too big for its britches.  And the Chicago case is no exception from that policy and principle.

Thus, it bears repeating that the Supreme Court found in Heller that the very purpose of the unalienable right to keep and bear arms is to prevent “tyrants” from “taking away the people’s arms, enabling a select militia or standing army to suppress political opponents.”  To the Court’s credit, it saw that the D.C. ban on handguns was just the kind of regulation prohibited by the Second Amendment.  Thus, the Court ruled that the keeping of handguns for self-defense was a “central component of the right itself.”

Another successful outcome of GOA’s Heller brief was in countering the Bush Administration, which had asked the Court to use the D.C. case as a justification for all sorts of gun control.  GOA was pleased that the Justices heeded our admonition to limit the Court’s holding to the case before it, thus shooting down both the D.C. government and the Bush Administration in their quest to validate other firearms restrictions.

A brief like the one we are filing regarding the Chicago case is very expensive.  We constantly hear from gun owners that we need to be challenging gun bans in court, to counter the efforts of the Brady Bunch, the ACLU and other leftist organizations.

So won’t you please join us in this monumental battle with a special year-end contribution to help pay our expenses for this important effort?

You can donate to this worthy cause at http://www.gunowners.com/mcdonald.htm

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