New York Times Editorial Board Defends Rahm Emanuel's Chicago Gun Law
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Chicago's 30-year gun ban is unconstitutional, and the city must now allow gun shops to open in city limits. But this month, Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced extremely prohibitive new regulations for gun shops, a move that is really a defacto ban, and The New York Times is siding with him.
Even as the highest court in the land informed Chicago that it would have to allow gun shops to open in the city and allow its citizens to have concealed carry licenses to protect themselves, former Obama Chief of Staff Mayor Rahm Emanuel is still looking for ways to use "the law" to put a hamper on those reaffirmed Second Amendment rights.
To continue to restrict guns as much as possible, Emanuel has announced a whole new series of rules that will prevent gun shops from opening in over 99 percent of the city. He has also put a limit on how many guns a customer is allowed to buy, demanded that gun shop employees undergo training to alert themselves to the signs of a "straw buyer," and insisted that gun shops make video records of every customer to whom they sell.
These extremely restrictive rules, The New York Times says, are "reasonable proposals."
The Gray Lady begins its May 29 editorial with a contradictory first paragraph.
"The city of Chicago," the Times begins, "bedeviled by street gang violence, refuses to give in to ever more restrictive court rulings against enactment of sensible gun safety laws. The Supreme Court’s misguided 2010 decision ended the nearly 30-year-long ban on handguns in Chicago."
Of course, it is Chicago's past laws that were restrictive, not the Supreme Court's pro-Second Amendment ruling. The SCOTUS ruling loosens restrictions, not the other way around.
Furthermore, if Chicago's 30-year gun ban was so wonderful, why is Chicago "bedeviled" by gun violence?
The Times goes on to say that Emanuel's proposals are "rooted in proven reforms that Congress should be considering nationally." And yet Chicago is one of the most dangerous cities in America with anywhere from two to four killed every weekend and dozens wounded. Again, if Chicago's gun bans were working so well, why the constant mayhem?
The New York paper also invokes several recent criminal shootings, such as Sandy Hook, and seems to imply that these shootings are growing. But studies show that there were more school shootings in the past than there are today. Also, gun rights activists are quick to point out that many of these mass shootings are in places officially designated as "gun free zones," so bans are not any sort of panacea.
In one case, for instance, a North Carolina fast food restaurant with a "no gun" sticker on its front door was robbed at gunpoint three times, despite the store's ban of guns inside its premises.
The New York Times is right about one thing: it is time to change things to try to get a different result. But reinstituting Chicago's gun ban--using backdoor, overly restrictive city regulations this time--isn't likely the way to go.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at email@example.com.