Steven DeWall
As most court observers predicted - even getting the score right - the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 today that the right


Supreme Court Approves Bellevue Gunners' Second Amendment Challenge to Chicago Ban

Steven DeWall
As most court observers predicted - even getting the score right - the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 today that the right to keep and bear arms applies to states, counties and cities, which will lead to elimination of most local gun bans but could also result in new gun-control laws. The legal challenge by Bellevue-based Second Amendment Foundation, as detailed in an earlier Seattle Weekly cover story, brought the expected crowing from SAF leader Alan Gottlieb, who thinks the ruling will end all gun bans, such as Seattle's attempt to keep guns from parks. But today's decision, effectively striking down Chicago's ban, is similar to a 2008 ruling against Washington D.C., which went on to lay down a myriad of new gun rules, as Chicago is promising to do.

To some, today's McDonald v. Chicago ruling is a push, with bans being declared unconstitutional while new local measures can balance out control efforts. The Chicago ruling is essentially a repeat of the earlier ruling. District of Columbia v. Heller, except that today's decision becomes the law of land, rather than applying only to the federal city of D.C.

In the wake of that decision, D.C. proposed new gun control measures (which are now being challenged by recently filed bills in Congress). The new D.C. measures include gun registration. Such local control measures were not barred by the 2008 high court ruling or today's decision.

In Chicago, Mayor Richard Daley says he's already moving to get new gun laws in place. Those requirements could include gun insurance, weapons registry, and restrictions making it more difficult to purchase firearms.

Still, Gottlieb, whose SAF beat bigger rival NRA to the courtroom to file the Chicago case, was relishing his moment in the sun and vowing to challenge any new gun crackdowns.

"This morning's high court ruling clearly shows that the right of the individual citizen to have a gun is constitutionally protected in every corner of the United States," he said. "We are already preparing to challenge other highly-restrictive anti-gun laws across the country. Our objective is to win back our firearms freedoms one lawsuit at a time."

Gottlieb said SAF will celebrate its victory by hosting the 2011 Gun Rights Policy Conference in the Chicago area. "By that time," he said, "we should have some exciting news about other actions we are currently planning." All of which, of course, means more money rolling into SAF's treasury, and the pockets of millionaire Gottlieb.

His strategy, he told SW, includes setting up a bogeyman to help him raise funds. "Fear, hate, and revenge," he said, "are three very powerful motivating factors in not just political fundraising but in politics as a whole." His focus in this case was Barack Obama, who Gottlieb told his follows was out to take away their guns.

"We've had a very well-plotted-out legal strategy for years, leading up to this," Gottlieb told SW earlier, and Chicago, because of Obama, was a prized symbolic target. "[Obama] supports the ban, always has," Gottlieb claimed. But the only gun measure the president approved was a change to allow guns in national parks.

This morning, Gottlieb couldn't stop patting himself on the back and boasted he had beaten the president off the court as well. "Today," he said, "it feels great to be the most effective community organizer Chicago has ever had."

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