The United States Supreme Court is weighing the constitutionality of a 1982 ban on handgun ownership in the city of Chicago. It is one of the most stringent bans in the country.
The suit was filed by Otis McDonald, a resident of a Chicago neighborhood who says he is awakened at all hours of the night by all kinds of noises from outside his home. He wants to be able to protect himself from the thugs who roam the streets of his community.
Obviously the gun ban hasn’t worked. In 2008 there were 412 firearm homicides in Chicago, and in 402 of them a handgun was used.
Buoyed by a victory in District of Columbia v. Heller a year and a half ago, gun rights advocates are confident the Supreme Court will rightly rule the Chicago gun ban unconstitutional.
The Founding Fathers understood the necessity of an armed populace if a society was to remain free. Writing in Federalist No. 46, James Madison said, “The ultimate authority …resides in the people alone.…The advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation …forms a barrier against the enterprises of ambition.”
And that ambition can be from a tyrannical government or a common street thug.
Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story, in his Commentaries on the Constitution, wrote, “The right of the citizens to keep and bear arms has justly been considered as the palladium of the liberties of a republic; since it offers a strong moral check against the usurpation and arbitrary power of rulers; and will generally, even if these are successful in the first instance, enable the people to resist and triumph over them.”
There is a growing sense of fear from many in our society over the usurpation and the arbitrary power of rulers. But more importantly, if a person is to remain secure in his home he has to have the ability to defend himself.
I believe that is called life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.