Chicago Alderman Rey Colon said the Supreme Court doesn’t understand the reality of the inner city.
“I understand the right to bear arms, but I also understand parents crying in their sleep,” said Colon, whose brother was fatally shot in 1979.
Colon’s comments, maybe a bit exaggerated for effect, came after the high court ruled last week that having a handgun for self-defense is a “fundamental (right) from an American perspective …”
Colleen Lawson, a plaintiff in the Supreme Court case, agrees. She wanted a gun after burglars hit her home in the middle of the day.
“To the criminals, I would like to say, ‘The Chicago crime buffet is over. We are not prey.’”
But not everyone agrees. There is a school of thought that tougher restrictions on guns will make for safer neighborhoods. Thus, Chicago officials are challenging the ruling by making it more difficult to obtain weapons. Mayor Richard Daley accepts that gun ownership would be legal in many cases, but he is doing what he can to make it a difficult process.
Still, those supporting gun rights claim a ban has had little impact in Chicago since175 people have died in gun violence this year; 54 were shot in one recent weekend (10 died).
The general public, according to a Rasmussen poll, does not support stricter gun laws — only 35 percent say tougher laws would be a good thing, and 67 percent disapprove of city gun bans.
The pro-gun statements are well known: “If guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns,” and, “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.”
The gun rights debate will never end. At the center of the discussion is the Second Amendment: “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”
That seems crystal clear to many gun owners and rights supporters. But there is more disagreement and less understanding about the Second Amendment than any other issue regarding the Constitution, according to the American Bar Association.
While a historical review would benefit anyone interested in the issue, the Supreme Court’s recent decision should be kept in context.
It does not say gun ownership is an absolute right, but is subject to regulation.
Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. noted the right to bear arms is not a “right to carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever for whatever purpose.”
There is good reason to restrict guns in schools or government buildings and not allow them to be owned by felons, the mentally ill or clearly dangerous folks.
Most Americans believe in the right to bear arms. So do we.
And most Americans believe in sensible gun laws. So do we.