Monday, July 5, 2010

Be still, my heart . . . . .

The Springfield State Journal-Register is apparently finished with hinting that they might slightly favor right-to-carry in Illinois, instead coming right out and saying so in a lead editorial in the Sunday edition:

"Our Opinion: Reconsider Ban on Concealed Carry"

They did a good job of recapping the history of concealed carry measures in Illinois, and I only have one or two small quibbles. Great job overall--in fact, when I showed it to my wife, she asked in all seriousness whether it was my guest piece. (It's not, of course.)

The only real trouble they gave me was in their suggestion that anti-gun politicians shouldn't be afraid to revisit right-to-carry because the McDonald decision endorsed "reasonable" restrictions and some compromise might be possible--for instance, that some cities could simply "opt out" of the right-to-carry law.

No. Just no. First of all, as the NRA's Todd Vandermyde has pointed out, the only Justices who wrote about "reasonable" restrictions when they weren't quoting anti-gun amici were the dissenters. That's a polite way of saying that the side that won did NOT endorse "reasonable" restrictions, though they did allow that some restrictions will likely pass muster. What they did was find that the individual right named in the Heller decision is incorporated into the 14th Amendment, which means that it has to be enforced against the states and local governments. That means, in this case, "Illinois" and "Chicago."

So, what is this individual right that now shall not be infringed by Chicago? Well, the Heller decision called it the "right to own and carry weapons in case of confrontation," though of course they didn't actually decide to order Washington, D.C. to allow right-to-carry since that question wasn't before them. But how can anyone figure that Chicago has a legal leg to stand on if they ask to "opt out" of this right entirely? No, right-to-carry is coming in Illinois, and the legislature's choice may very well be between acting in the next session and negotiating with us, or waiting to act and "negotiating" with federal court orders. Good luck with that.

The bottom line is that if the 2nd Amendment protects an individual right to carry weapons for personal defense, as the Supreme Court has said it does at least in dicta, then there's no legal way for Illinois to remain the one state in the union that won't allow any citizen to carry a loaded firearm for any reason (police officers and politicians excepted, of course.) And, once Illinois brings itself into compliance and provides equal protection before the law for its citizens, it's hard to see how Chicago could "opt out" and take that equal protection away from over half the citizens in the state. Last year, when many Illinois right-to-carry activists (including me) tried to make a push to get a right-to-carry law that would have allowed Chicago and other home-rule municipalities to "opt out," it would probably have been found legal for them to do it. But they weren't willing to talk about that deal, and the NRA torpedoed it behind the scenes in the Illinois General Assembly. A lot of people were angry about that, but let's face it now: the NRA turned out to be right on this one. We didn't want to wait for the McDonald decision, but that was impatience talking. As it turned out, we find ourselves today in a position where Illinois doesn't need to make that deal that Chicago and its puppets spurned back then. In fact, I'll just come out and say it clearly here: in the long run, I'm glad the other side was too foolish to take that deal, and I'm glad Vandermyde and the NRA killed it.

1 comment:

Mark said...

I was just thinking of this and how IL needs to get with the times.

I'm getting my FOID card soon and hopefully down the road, IL will allow me to defend myself.

Like the blog, keep up the good work.