The Supreme Court has voted to apply the Second Amendment of the Constitution, which upholds the right to keep and bear arms, to state and local governments, as well as the federal government. The case was a law suit against a ban on firearms in Chicago.
The case was McDonald v. City of Chicago, brought against the city government of Chicago by Otis McDonald, 71, a resident in Chicago’s notorious south side whose home has been broken into three times and who wanted the right to own a gun for home defense.
Despite the ban on the ownership of guns in Chicago, the city has experienced a burgeoning murder rate, in excess of 200 so far this year. The reason appears to be that, while law abiding citizens are denied the right to own a gun, criminals, who already ignore laws against robbery, rape, and murder, freely use fire arms that can be acquired on the black market or in locales where gun ownership is allowed.
Conversely, in his study on the relationship between gun ownership and crime, “More Guns, Less Crime”, John R. Lott concluded that states and locales that enact concealed carry laws, which allow citizens to carry concealed weapons, experience a marked drop in violent crime. This is despite the confident predictions by gun control advocates that such laws would result in Wild West-style shoot outs on city streets.
The reason for the phenomenon described by Lott is that criminals in states and locales where concealed carry permits are allowed feel deterred from preying on other people. The fear is that a potential mugging or rape victim might be carrying a gun and will use it to defend his or herself. A home ripe for a break-in might contain a resident prepared to respond with deadly force. Sometimes, even displaying a firearm has sufficed to stop a crime in progress and compel the criminal to retreat.
In 2008, the Supreme Court resolved another controversy surrounding the Second Amendment. For years, gun control advocates had maintained that the Second Amendment only applied to militias and not to individuals. In a decision involving a gun ban in Washington D.C, the Supreme Court decided that the right to keep and bear arms was an individual right.
The McDonald v. City of Chicago will open a slew of court challenges to the constitutionality of fire arms restrictions across the United States.
Gun Rights Must Be Honored by States, Cities, High Court Rules in 5-4 Vote, Greg Stohr, Bloomberg, June 28th, 2010
Tracking homicides in Chicago, Redeye
More Guns, Less Crime: Understanding Crime and Gun Control Laws, John R. Lott, University Of Chicago Press, 3rd Edition, 2010