A Philosopher's Blog

Chicago

Posted in Law, Politics by Michael LaBossiere on July 5, 2010
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As those who are concerned about gun right (pro or against) know, the Supreme Court recently ruled against Chicago’s handgun ban. Given what the Constitution says, this ruling seems to be dead on.

In response, the city council voted unanimously for a new ordinance. Though the council cannot ban gun ownership, the ordinance places rather extreme restrictions on gun ownership. First, a household can have only one “operable firearm.”More guns can be on the premises, but these must be locked up.

This strikes me as a rather odd sort of restriction and raises an obvious question about what this limit is intended to do. While it is a good idea to keep guns secured, this seems like it might be intended as a mere annoyance law or even an act of spite (“fine, have your damn guns…but you have to pick your favorite and lock up all the rest!”).

Second, gun owners need to get a state permit. While this also seems intended to be an annoyance factor, it does seem Constitutional. After all, it does not deny ownership-it merely adds a legal step to the process. Of course, it can be seen as an intrusion into a basic Constitutional right.  Obviously enough, this will not have any real impact on illegal gun possession or crime. After all, someone who is inclined to commit crimes with a gun is hardly going to balk at an ordinance requiring a permit.

Third, gun owners have to register their guns with the police. While I have an emotional distaste for the idea of registering guns with the state,this seems no more onerous that registering a car. However, it also seems to be yet another annoyance factor that will have no significant impact on crime or violence.

Fourth, gun owners will be required to receive training. While this is also an annoyance factor, I do agree that such training is an excellent idea. Having a fair amount of experience at shooting ranges and while hunting, I know that some people own guns who have no real understanding of basic safety.  Just as people are required to received training to operate a car, I think that people should be expected to receive at least some basic safety training when it comes to guns. While I would prefer to rely on personal responsibility (in my own case, my dad taught me about safe gun handling), that can be an uncommon commodity.

Fifth, assault weapons are banned. This, as a friend of mine always says, is a “fear ban.” Assault weapons are no deadlier than other guns, but they look “scary” (like military weapons). While they can hold more rounds than other guns, all modern style weapons are rapid fire and hold multiple rounds (typically 5 for a hunting rifle and 15 for a semi-automatic pistol). Hunting weapons also tend to be more powerful than assault rifles. In any case, criminals can easily get weapons elsewhere and bring them into the city, presumably as they did during the ban.

Sixth, the ordinance also bans gun shops within the city. This is, of course, an annoyance factor (“you can have your damn gun, but you’ll have to drive to get it!”).

Given that the complete ban seemed to do nothing to reduce the number of crimes in Chicago, it seems unlikely that this ordinance will have any meaningful impact. To state the obvious, crime is not caused by guns. When I grew up in Maine, almost everyone I knew had guns. As a kid, I owned a .410, a 20 gauge shotgun and a .22 rifle. My dad had all sorts of rifles, pistols and shotguns. Yet, Maine is an extremely low crime state. As such, it makes sense to consider other causal factors. Focusing on gun bans and restrictions merely seems to try to address a tool that some people use in crimes. This does not, however, address the root causes of crime. As such, it is not surprising that despite the ban, Chicago was awash in violence.

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2 Responses

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  1. magus71 said, on July 7, 2010 at 6:09 am

    It’s funny that Democrats are arguing for State’s Rights here.

    Drowning is the second leading cause of death amongst children under 12 (#1 is car crashes, predictably). Let’s ban swimming pools.

    Crime increased immensely wehn handguns were banned in England and Australia:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/1440764.stm

    Gun crime actually doubled in the last decade in England, even though handguns are illegal.

    There are several studies done that show, at least in Western cultures where most people won’t commit robbery and random murders, that gun control increases violent crime.

    It’s pretty clear that the second amendment meant that anyone capable should have a gun. This was the whole reaoson that Paul Revere made his famous ride; so that all of the armed people would come out of their houses and fight.

    If the Dems want guns banned, they should try for a constitutional amendment instead of trying to back door Americans through leftist judges like Ruth Bader Ginsburgh.

    They don’t go the amendment route because they know they would have a shot in the dark–pun intended.

    • kernunos said, on July 9, 2010 at 5:38 pm

      Yup, the Left goes “States’ Rights for gun laws” but “States don’t have the right to control ‘illegal’ immigration on their own lands”.


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