Chicago Residents Disappointed With Gun Ruling

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The Supreme Court's ruling that gun rights apply to local laws was closely watched in Chicago. The justices based their decisions on two Chicago-area laws. The ruling almost certainly means the end of Chicago's decades-old handgun ban.

CHERYL CORLEY: I'm Cheryl Corley in Chicago.

Unidentified People: No more guns. No more guns.

CORLEY: In a grassy field at the corner of a busy intersection in Chicago's Little Village neighborhood, a few residents came out to chant their displeasure over the Supreme Court ruling. Raul Montez, Jr.(ph) has lived here all his life.

Mr. RAUL MONTEZ, JR.: Every other week there's a shooting. There's a big gang rivalry going on right now between two major gangs, and that's one of the major things. I mean these kids have guns. I mean there's so many guns on the streets already, we don't need more.

CORLEY: That's long been one of the city's major arguments as it fought to keep its gun ban intact. But Chicago officials saw the legal writing on the wall when the Supreme Court invalidated Washington, D.C.'s gun ban two years ago. So Mayor Richard Daley said he wasn't surprised but disappointed when the Supreme Court made it clear that Chicago's 28-year-old ban on handguns will eventually come to an end.

Mayor RICHARD DALEY (Democrat, Chicago): As a city, we must continue to stand up to the gun and drug thugs who only want to terrorize our communities and harm our people.

CORLEY: So Daley promised a new law is in the works. Relatives of Chicagoans killed by gunfire surrounded Daley at his press conference. Annette Nance Holt's(ph) 16-year-old son Blair(ph) was shot three years ago as he rode a city bus home from school. He died trying to shield a friend when a gang member boarded the bus and began firing.

Ms. ANNETTE NANCE HOLT: More guns equals to me more problems, more deaths, more funerals, more parents like me. So who will answer for all the parents and citizens killed by guns and those injured by them? Will it be the Supreme Court, the Southern Circuit, or the gun manufacturers?

CORLEY: The still visible grief of Holt and the others has always been a part of the battle over Chicago's handgun ban. And so has the fear and concern of others like Colleen Lawson(ph), who sued the city over its ban. She said just recently burglars invaded a neighbor's home, so she's grateful for the Supreme Court ruling.

Ms. COLLEEN LAWSON: Defending one's self with a handgun doesn't mean shooting someone. It means stopping them from considering you as prey. So I am not threatening to go out and do anything to anyone. Im just saying that you may not come into our homes anymore and just do as you will. Some of us will be armed.

CORLEY: But Mara Georges, the city's top lawyer, warns that no one in Chicago should rush out to buy a handgun.

Ms. MARA GEORGES (City Attorney, Chicago): We can do reasonable regulation. We can have registration requirements. We can have obligations that firearm owners have to meet. And we will do that in our new ordinance.

CORLEY: The city has studied the steps D.C. took when its handgun ban failed. But Don Moran, with the Illinois State Rifle Association, another of the lawsuit's plaintiffs, says Chicago is aiming its efforts at the wrong people: law abiding citizens.

Mr. DON MORAN (Illinois State Rifle Association): The gangbangers that are standing on the street corner that are having the shootouts, they're not going to go pay $500 to register a firearm. They're not going to sit through a training class. They're not going to do nothing is going to change for them.

CORLEY: Gun rights advocates vow to continue a legal battle if they believe any new Chicago handgun regulations are unreasonable.

Cheryl Corley, NPR News, Chicago.

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