Chicago and the 2nd Amendment

Today, in a 5-4 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Chicago’s handgun ban and ruled that the Second Amendment right to bear arms applies to every state in the Union. It is a victory for our Constitution, for freedom, and for the safety of our families.

Earlier today, before the Supreme Court announced its decision, I was targeted in an article on the Huffington Post website by a supporter of my opponent, Jan Schakowsky. He criticized my belief that “the right to bear arms is essential for our freedom.” It turns out that my view is shared by the Supreme Court. Ms. Schakowsky has long tried to restrict the right to bear arms. She is clearly on the wrong side of the U.S. Constitution.

I believe in the Second Amendment because I know the importance of self-defense. I was once attacked by a would-be mugger who told me he would kill me if I did not hand over my cell phone. Instinctively, I fought the man and stunned him, then hailed a passing group of armed private security guards (I called the police but they did not arrive). We arrested him and brought him to the police station. He was later tried and convicted.

More recently, I learned that a woman in my community who owns a small business was robbed twice at gunpoint in her store. On the last occasion, she called the police, but they did not catch the thief, who had threatened to kill her. She has a licensed firearm at home, but could not bring it to her store because of gun control ordinances. For her, the fear of not being able to protect herself was the worst part of the entire ordeal.

If Chicago’s handgun ban were working, we would not be experiencing a terrible wave of deadly shootings. In most of the country, crime is dropping, but in Chicago it is going up, owing partly to a lack of leadership and to corruption at senior levels of government. Crime often goes down when law-abiding citizens are able to protect themselves, and where there is a serious commitment by politicians to help police enforce the law.

It is worrying that President Obama’s new Supreme Court nominee, Elena Kagan, has a record of opposing Second Amendment rights. In her days as a Supreme Court clerk, she recommended that the Court refuse to hear a case on a handgun bun just like the ban that was overturned today. Ms. Kagan must be asked if her views have changed, or whether she will try to reinterpret the Constitution to suit her earlier views on handguns.

The Supreme Court agrees that the right to bear arms is essential to our freedom. The Constitution applies in Chicago, too–and we need representatives who will uphold it.

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