It will be much harder for cites to regulate the firearms that are turning some neighborhoods into free-fire zones in the wake of Monday’s Supreme Court decision in McDonald v. the City of Chicago, according to several Jewish groups.
In a 5-4 decision, the Justices ruled that the right to keep and bear arms can’t be restricted by state and local governments, at least not easily.
The case zeros in on the nation’s toughest laws, starting with Chicago, but could also affect gun restrictions in New York.
The Anti-Defamation League and the Reform movement were the first to react.
The ADL, in a statement, raised the issue of terrorism: the decision is a “disappointing setback in the fight against extremism and violence,” according to the group’s leaders.
Under the decision, it will make it much harder “to keep guns out of the hands of extremists, terrorists and violent bigots,” the ADL wrote. “The decision makes America a less safe place for law enforcement officers and the communities they protect.”
The Reform movement is getting ready to issue a statement, but Mark Pelavin, associate director of the Religious Action Center, had a quick comment on the blockbuster ruling.
“It’s a really bad decision that reaches deeply problematic results that we are going to have to live with for a generation,” he said.
Pelavin said the decision will open the floodgates to challenges of city anti-gun ordinances around the country and undercut the strategy of gun control advocates to focus on the cities that have the biggest problems with gun violence, end-running a gun lobby that has Washington in a virtual stranglehold.
In many ways the decision is a victory for a rural-based pro-gun movement – at the expense of cities like New York and Chicago, which continue to wrestle with unacceptably high levels of gun violence, he said.
“The political strength of the NRA has never been in the major metropolitan areas,” Pelavin said. “The need for gun control laws is different in Los Angeles, for example, than in Bangor, Maine. Today’s decision takes away from cities and states the authority to make those decisions.”
Over at Politico, Ben Smith blogged this:Gun control groups are minimizing the verdict, arguing that it doesn’t necessarily conflict with carefully written, stringent laws (other than Chicago’s). But NRA chief lobbyist Chris Cox said the association sees an opportunity to dramatically expand the rights of citizens in liberal jurisdictions to carry guns, naming New York in particular as a target for change.