The Supreme Court yesterday ruled that state and local laws can not supersede the Constitution
when it comes to Americans' right to keep arms.
The decision throws out laws in Chicago and its suburban neighbor, Oak
Park, that banned residents from keeping handguns in their homes. The ruling also opened the floodgates for critics of the Second Amendment to warn of a huge surge of gun violence to come.
My colleague Keegan Hamilton made such an argument earlier today
and he couldn't be more wrong. Why?
Because the bad guys already have the guns! What the Supreme Court ruled was simply that the good guys of the world should be entitled to an even playing field when it comes to protecting themselves and their families inside their own homes.
It's as simple as that. The ruling does not
allow Illinois residents to carry weapons around in public (Illinois and Wisconsin are the only two states in the nation without conceal-carry laws), though it could be argued that such a law would have Chicago thugs thinking twice about committing crimes in the Windy City. (Consider the case of Christopher Holland
, an armed robber shot dead in Hazelwood last month
by his intended victim who happened to have a conceal-carry permit.)
Yeah, sure, some of these handguns in Chicago may get into the wrong hands. But giving law-abiding residents the right to defend themselves inside their home does not necessarily equate to greater violence. Consider the case of Switzerland. That country of seven million people (roughly the size of greater Chicago) is home to millions of registered guns, yet its rate of gun violence is so low that as of 2001 it didn't even keep statistics
on the subject.
How can this be? For starters, all men in Switzerland are required to serve in the military -- providing them with respect for firearms. It's also an educated and wealthy country with a more intact social structure that can be found in many of America's most crime-plagued cities.
My colleague Hamilton today quotes East St. Louis Mayor Alvin Parks
commenting on his city's 16th homicide of the year today, saying: "We have to get the guns out of the hands of the wrong people." But Hamilton left out the crux of Parks' quote as stated in the Belleville News-Democrat
. And that is this:
"Unfortunately, the factors I have talked about are what urban
communities like East St. Louis are up against," says Parks. "It has to be addressed,
first, through parenting. Parents have to teach their children that they
can't shoot people."
Yes, that's right. Before we go taking away the rights of the good guys, it's time we as Americans look ourselves in the mirror and ask how it is we've allowed ourselves to deteriorate to the point that so many of us have no respect for human life. DISCLAIMER: The views expressed herein should be construed only
as argument for the sake of argument, and not as the personal opinions
of the authors. In fact, the authors' positions in "Tuesday Tussle" are
decided by coin toss.