Gun-Control Supporters Show Outrage

Gun-control advocates across the country reacted with shock and outrage at the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down the District of Columbia’s ban on handguns today, saying the ruling would threaten gun-control measures in other states. If there was any doubt that other bans would be in peril, the National Rifle Association quickly put those questions to rest when it announced shortly after the ruling that it would file a flurry of lawsuits challenging restrictions in San Francisco, Chicago and several Chicago suburbs. snip

In Chicago, Mayor Richard M. Daley, a staunch supporter of gun control, called the decision “frightening” and said he was bracing for a fight with the gun lobby, which has long criticized the city’s ban on the sale and registration of handguns for everyone but police officers and a handful of others. Enacted in 1982, the law was created in response to the murders of two police officers and the assassination attempt on former president Ronald Reagan.

“Does this lead to everyone having a gun in our society?” he said at a news conference. “If they think that’s the answer, then they’re greatly mistaken. Then, why don’t we do away with the court system and go back to the Old West? You have a gun and I have a gun and we’ll settle in the streets.

“They’re changing the rules,” Mr. Daley said of the Supreme Court. “Why should we as a city not be able to protect ourselves from those who want guns in our society?”

Senator Dianne Feinstein, a former mayor of San Francisco, which also restricts the owning of guns, reacted strongly to the ruling, saying she was “viscerally affected” by it and worried for the nation’s safety.

“I speak as somebody who has watched this nation with its huge homicide rate, when countries that have sane restrictions on weapons do not have that homicide rate,” she said. “And I happen to believe that this is now going to open the door to litigation against every gun safety law that states have passed — assault weapons bans, trigger locks, and all the rest of it.”

The ruling was quickly seized upon by John McCain, who in recent months has tried to repair a fractured relationship with the gun lobby stemming from his support of regulations on gun sales at firearm shows and other restrictions. Mr. McCain praised the decision today, and used it to renew criticisms of his Democratic rival, Senator Barack Obama.

“Unlike the elitist view that believes Americans cling to guns out of bitterness, today’s ruling recognizes that gun ownership is a fundamental right — sacred, just as the right to free speech and assembly,” Mr. McCain said.

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/27/wa...=1&oref=slogin