Notwithstanding The Jewish Week’s attack on the Second Amendment by attacking the National Rifle Association, (“Disturbing Decision on Guns,” Editorial, July 2), the central thrust of the Supreme Court’s recent decision in McDonald vs. City of Chicago was constitutionally sound.
That is, the Second Amendment applies to the states through the 14th Amendment, in the same way that the First (speech, religion and press), Fifth (due process) and Eighth (cruel and unusual punishment) are applicable to the states. An opposite holding would have resulted in the anomaly of the Second Amendment being treated starkly different than all other amendments to the Constitution — a result clearly not intended by the language or spirit of the Constitution.
Putting aside the Constitution, which critics of the decision seem to do, statistics show that those cities imposing the strictest gun laws do not necessarily achieve lower crime rates. For instance, according to a May 24, 2010 report by the FBI, Chicago’s murder rate in 2009 was three times higher than New York’s, even though both cities are similarly large, have diverse communities and maintain (until now) very strict guns laws. Perhaps it is community policing, economics and the quality of life, and not gun laws easily circumvented by out-of-state purchases, which really matter.
It remains to be seen how the courts will treat expected challenges to existing or revamped gun laws. But there is little reason to think the Supreme Court’s decision was a major setback for “mainstream Jewish groups,” whoever they may be.