Last year the U.S. Supreme Court heard the case of District of Columbia vs. Heller and that ruling declared that the Second Amendment to the United State Constitution guaranteed an individual the right to keep and bear arms. But that didn’t stop Chicago from continuing its gun ban, like Washington, D.C. had before the ruling and still does to some degree.
Chicago claims that the Federal Government does not have power over the states and/or municipalities to create their own gun laws. That claim has been challenged and appealed to the highest court in our country. The U.S. Supreme Court will hear McDonald vs. Chicago.
We know that the newest member of the Court, Justice Sonya Sotomayor, sat on an appeals court and supported a ruling in New York very similar to the McDonald vs. Chicago case in which she ruled that Federal gun laws cannot overrule state laws.
It may just be that the Supreme Court will decide whether its ruling in District of Columbia vs. Heller also extends to the states. Heller did not clarify that and I speculated back then that the day would come when a decision from the courts would be needed. But there are issues in this that will make the case interesting.
As I see it, some are wanting their bread buttered on both sides. Many individuals cry out for Second Amendment protection for their individual right to keep and bear arms, while at the same time demanding enforcement of the Tenth Amendment. The Tenth Amendment spells out that the only power the Federal Government has over the states is what is given them by the Constitution.
That in and of itself presents a problem to those seeking to have protection of the U.S. Constitution to own guns and yet if states have the power to make and enforce their own gun laws, as is supposedly granted by the U.S. Constitution, then we have a problem.
But it’s not even that simple. Recently the Ninth Federal Court of Appeals ruled that the Fourteenth Amendment incorporates the Second Amendment therefore giving the Federal Government power to control guns.
With several states now either having or considering laws to challenge the Federal Government in order to reinsert their rights under the Tenth Amendment, does it not make sense that states, such as Illinois, will need to examine their own constitutions to see if gun ownership is guaranteed.
McDonald vs. Chicago may prove to be decisive in two ways. It may clarify federal power over the states, something many states are trying to get away from or it may be one more step toward dismantling the strong arm of the federal government.
This case will be heard sometime next year.