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Opinion: Daley opposes our Second Amendment

Political corruption is synonymous with Illinois.

While I was a kid living my high school years in Chicago during the 1950s, Mayor Richard J. Daley's political machine dictated every Illinois politician's next move. It included the neighborhood alderman as well as a string of governors who spent time behind bars. Today, we have another arrogant ex-governor who will hopefully spend time behind bars.

Things haven't changed much. Today, "junior," or Mayor Richard J. Daley, is successfully manipulating a recent decision of our nation's highest court. Daley is presently our Second Amendment's most ruthless, obnoxious opponent. The Second Amendment guarantees our right as Americans to own and bear arms, and Chicago law forbids handgun ownership. While Daley surrounds himself with heavily armed, around- the- clock security, he belittles firearms ownership by his Chicago constituents.

Daley recently encountered someone who refused to cower to his demands. Otis McDonald, a black man and multiple crime victim, moved to Chicago forty years ago. Today this son of a Louisiana sharecropper is 76 years old. His neighborhood, not too far from where I grew up, is ruled by drug addicts and thugs. McDonald holds impressive credentials. An Army veteran, he became head of his local union as well as a maintenance engineer at the University of Chicago. All McDonald wanted was the ability to defend himself on the street as well as in his home.

*Otis McDonald decided to act. He sought out Illinois gun right activists, and eventually became the lead plaintiff in the case that became known as McDonald v. City of Chicago. The Chicago crime rate had risen steadily since the handgun ban was made law 28 years ago, and McDonald's case would include not just Chicago, but state and local governments as well. To quote McDonald, "It's impossible for Mayor Daley or any politician backing the gun ban to know what it's like to live unarmed on a block where bad guys are packing guns and willing to shoot."

In June 2010, our nation's highest court ruled for McDonald and guaranteed a law-abiding individual's right to have a handgun -- even in the city of Chicago. Will this change lower the city's crime rate? It should. In comparing Chicago's murder rate to that of our fifty other largest cities, Chicago's rate was falling before the 1983 handgun ban. After the ban, the trend reversed. From 2007 to 2008, the FBI's latest figures, the U.S. murder rate decreased by 4.7 percent while Chicago's increased by nearly 15 percent.

Mayor Daley is not accepting the high court's decision. In order for Chicagoans to legally own a handgun by possessing a Chicago Firearms permit, they must jump through a series of unreasonable, if not impossible, hoops. Applicants must first be fingerprinted. Then they must pass a background check. Since the federal government already requires a background check for any gun purchase, this may or may not be acceptable as I don't know where Daley is drawing the line. It wouldn't surprise me if he didn't tolerate traffic violations.

Next comes the hundred dollar application fee plus fifteen dollars for every gun registered. Applicants must then, if they have survived so far, take and pass a four hour class plus one hour of training at a gun range. They must then submit affidavits signed by state-approved firearms instructors. So far, it is not known where these instructors can be found, or who approved them.

Daley's arrogance in defying a Supreme Court ruling is ludicrous! I can reasonably predict what is going to happen. In defiance of Daley, Chicago residents will continue to purchase their handguns in an Illinois community outside Chicago as Chicago has no gun retailers. Like all of us, they will fill out the yellow federal firearms purchase form, pass the background check, and wait the mandatory waiting period. If they are ever arrested for not having a Chicago Firearms Permit, they have the Supreme Court ruling on their side. They can fight it and win.

I would like to comment on Chicago then and now. In 1961, when I pointed my Smith & Wesson into the faces of "would be" rapists and murderers who threatened to bust in my windshield with a crowbar, they backed off because their minds were clear. Their brains weren't fried on drugs. In 1957, when a knife-wielding subway robber asked me for my money, he didn't carve me up after I gave him my $1.57. His mind was clear. Today's drugs have altered clear thinking to the point where rational acts are not a part of the equation. Otis McDonald knows all about this.

In supporting Otis McDonald, the National Rifle Association supported all of us. It is a good reason to join the NRA if you don't belong. If you don't know where to go, call me and I'll personally sign you up. The NRA has been criticized recently for seeming overstepping its usual boundaries. A case in point are Supreme Court nominations. If our highest court isn't composed of justices who support our Constitution, those things most important to us, including The Second Amendment, may be lost. It does relate, and the NRA needs to pay close attention.

See you next week.