An angry Mayor Richard Daley on Thursday called the Supreme Court's overturning of the Washington D.C. gun ban "a very frightening decision" and vowed to fight vigorously any challenges to Chicago's ban.
The mayor, speaking at a Navy Pier event, said he was sure mayors nationwide, who carry the burden of keeping cities safe, will be outraged by the decision.
Chicago's handgun ban, which has lasted for more than a quarter-century, came under threat earlier in the day when the Supreme Court decided that Washington D.C.'s law against handgun ownership is unconstitutional.
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Illinois gun-rights activists have said they expect to mount a quick legal challenge to the Chicago Weapons Ordinance.
Other city officials said they felt confidant that challenge would fail.
"We are confident that this does not invalidate Chicago's ordinance at this point," said Jennifer Hoyle, spokeswoman for the city Law Department.
Benna Solomon, deputy corporation counsel for the city, asserted that the Supreme Court decision only applies to the federal government. Washington D.C., she said, is part of the federal government, but Chicago is an independent home-rule unit of Illinois.
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Daley said the Supreme Court decision, by allowing guns in city streets but still banning them in the halls of federal power, further widens the gap between the country's elite and the common people.
"This decision really places those who are rich and those who are in power [to] always feel safe," Daley said. "Those who do not have the power do not feel safe, and that's what they're saying."
The press never mentions the many citizens who are maimed but not slain by guns, the ones who take the real toll on America's health-care and tax systems, Daley said.
"They're the forgotten souls, they're in the nursing home for the rest of their lives," Daley said. "They're the ones with spinal cord injuries, head injuries, costing the government millions of dollars to taxpayers."
"They can have all the guns we want in the fed building," Daley said. "They can have all the guns. But why should we as a city not be able to protect ourselves from those who want guns in our society?"
It was the first time in nearly 70 years that the court had taken up broad questions about the 2nd Amendment's protections of the right to bear arms. The city of Chicago, which has had its own ban on handgun ownership since 1982, had filed a brief with the court in support of the ban in January.
Daley stressed the danger of private gun ownership, not only to other Chicago citizens, but to the children of gun owners.
"We've shown time and time again how many children have been killed in their homes by guns," he said. "Parents are away, they get the gun. Parents are away, the child takes the gun, runs out in the street and has an argument, comes back and shoots somebody."
He described America as a country of gun-lovers who export their weaponry to neighboring countries like Canada and Mexico, spreading violence to relatively peaceful areas.
Daley said he found it "amazing" how guns are banned anywhere near the Supreme Court and the U.S. Capitol, but the lawmakers who meet there are "changing the rules" to allow them on city streets.