February 1, 2010

THE PUBLIC FACE OF GUN RIGHTS

CHICAGO--The Chicago Tribune did a lengthly piece on Otis McDonald, who's the lead plaintiff in the landmark McDonald v. City of Chicago handgun ban case. Excerpt follows:

THE PUBLIC FACE OF GUN RIGHTS

The Supreme Court will decide the legality of the city's handgun ban in McDonald v. City of Chicago. This is Otis McDonald.

McDonald v. City of Chicago

From behind the wheel of his hulking GMC Suburban, 76-year-old Otis McDonald leads a crime-themed tour of his Morgan Park neighborhood. He points to the yellow brick bungalow he says is a haven for drug dealers. Down the street is the alley where five years ago he saw a teenager pull out a gun and take aim at a passing car. Around the corner, he gestures to the weed-bitten roadside where three thugs once threatened his life.

"I know every day that I come out in the streets, the youngsters will shoot me as quick as they will a policeman," says McDonald, a trim man with a neat mustache and closely cropped gray hair. "They'll shoot a policeman as quick as they will any of their young gangbangers."

To defend himself, McDonald says, he needs a handgun. So, in April of 2008, the retired maintenance engineer agreed to serve as the lead plaintiff in a lawsuit challenging Chicago's 28-year-old handgun ban. Soon after, he walked into the Chicago Police Department and, as his attorneys had directed, applied for a .22-caliber Beretta pistol, setting the lawsuit into motion. When that case is argued before the U.S. Supreme Court on March 2, McDonald will become the public face of one of the most important Second Amendment cases in the nation's history.

Amid the clamor of the gun-rights debate, McDonald presents a strongly sympathetic figure: an elderly man who wants a gun to protect himself from the hoodlums preying upon his neighborhood. But the story of McDonald and his lawsuit is more complicated than its broad outlines might suggest. McDonald and three co-plaintiffs were carefully recruited by gun-rights groups attempting to shift the public perception of the Second Amendment as a white, rural Republican issue. McDonald, a Democrat and longtime hunter, jokes that he was chosen as lead plaintiff because he is African-American. . . .

Read the rest of the story here.

Comments (24)

Gaviota a liberal?. LMAO

Posted by: Sharps | February 28, 2010 2:02 AM    Report this comment

You are most welcome, Gene. Welcome aboard.

Gaviota

Posted by: Lee W | February 9, 2010 8:31 PM    Report this comment

Gentlemen, I would like to express my appreciation for the spirited, well-written, & (mostly) intelligent discourse taking on this & other stories on GunReports.com

Posted by: JustBob | February 8, 2010 10:56 PM    Report this comment

Thanks for your daily input, I've learned so much about what is going on out there in the gun rights fight from you and a few other posters. Good to see everyone on the same page.

Posted by: Robert J | February 8, 2010 7:53 AM    Report this comment

TW3: My Daddy used to tell me that a measure of a good person is their willingness to apologize when they have misspoken.

I do not consider this forum my property. I enjoy reading almost everyone's comments even, and perhaps especially, with those I disagree. Keep 'em coming!

Posted by: mookien | February 6, 2010 11:50 PM    Report this comment

TW3-

Apology accepted with gratitude. I understand and fully support your passion. I have, on many unfortunate occasions, allowed my own passions to run amok, so I hold no grudges. I have had to learn through painful experience that fire disciple is not just for my firearms.

I do want to clear up one minor point here, though. If it seems like posters here are territorial and possessive of this site, I'm sorry, I don't want that to be the dominant perception. Everyone who supports gun rights is welcome here, liberal, conservative, libertarian, or whatnot. It's just that recently there have been a few trolls who've jumped in and started slinging crap, and everyone here (including you, probably) just got real tired of it real fast. Tim Cole, the publisher of Gun Reports and moderator of this site has even had to delete a few posts and update the warning note to posters because it was starting to get out of hand. That's why we are kind of self-policing about that sort of thing. Hope that's okay with you.

Thanks for your courteous and thoughtful reply. I do strongly agree with each and every one of your points.

Gaviota

Posted by: Lee W | February 6, 2010 5:52 PM    Report this comment

Gaviota- I guess I do owe you an apology by my misinterpretation of your comments concerning the underlying discomfort many NRA members have concerning the methodology of the NRA's official stance on a variety of issues. First, you may have a tighter view of the interaction between the attorneys for SAF and the NRA, and for that- mea culpa, but I am not sure that the McDonald case is the forum where the NRA's dirty laundry should be exposed. It seems to me that this and every other judicial case that hints of infringement of our 2nd Amendment rights should be vigorously opposed, and given that the NRA has been traditionally and remains the big dog in the fight, our support of the Organization should be unified and solid. I agree that there might be chinks in the McDoanld case, but the importance of the Supreme Court's decision is critical, and the SAF probably needs the NRA right cross to back up its jab.
Secondly: It's obvious that you and your buddies consider this forum to be your own property, and all of you are certainly entitled to voice your opinion, but I am regularly contributing my opinion to GunReports articles on a variety of topics, and based upon your own recitation of NRA membership longevity, I've got you by an additional 20 years in both categories.

I do apologize for my misinterpretation, but though mistaken, not for my passion!

Posted by: TW3 | February 6, 2010 12:30 PM    Report this comment

Hey Gav - We all knew your liberal side would come out! (Sarcasm) Thanks for all your input on these weekly threads. It's always nice to hear a sane voice. If TW3 really thinks you are a liberal, she/he is truly a newcoming troll, or thinks Hitler should be a saint.

I'll apologize in advance for my relative lack of civility and maturation in this post. (Relative - meaning that this forum is usually polite and respectful, unlike typical media forums where skid marks "flame" on anybody who disagrees with them.)

Posted by: PVB | February 5, 2010 7:24 PM    Report this comment

TW3 - Gaviota's Law states: Anyone who jumps into an established, active thread with a first post containing abusive or ad hominem comments is not an emotionally stable, mature adult. Do not respond to or converse with anonymous commentors who's first post is an ad hominem attack. They're trolls, and trolls must not be fed.

So, against my better judgement and recent experience, I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt, and I will simply post this:

I have been a member of the NRA for over 40 years, and a Life Member for nearly thirty years. I vote in every election for the Board of Directors, and I contribute to the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA). I've even won a couple of minor awards for membership recruiting. If there is ANYONE here qualified to criticize the NRA, it's me. Criticizing the NRA is not in any way detracting from the fight for gun rights. In fact, if we critics of the NRA hadn't banded together in the Cincinnati Revolt of 1977 and elected Harlan Carter as EVP, the NRA would have ceased to exist as a force for the advancement of gun-rights, and become a generalized "outdoor sports club" for bicyclists, walkers, and bird-watchers. Ask Canovack if that isn't true. It was we, the critics of the NRA that demanded the formation of the ILA, and started the NRA on the road to vigorous, strenuous defense of the RKBA and the 2nd Amendment. But the NRA is not perfect, and still does a few things wrong, so it's perfectly justifiable to critique it's actions, write them up, and demand correction, just like we do with our Congressleeches.

Your comment about me being a liberal was impolite, unnecessary, and your assumptions were wrong. Don't do that again. If you cannot post a comment containing facts, standards, philosophy, or principle without calling names, we'd all appreciate it if you didn't post at all.

Gaviota

Posted by: Lee W | February 5, 2010 5:45 PM    Report this comment

Gaviota a liberal? That's like saying Obama is a fiscal conservative, Bill Clinton a faithful husband, etc. I always thought of Wayne as the bad cop, nobody likes the tactics however a necessary evil so to speak. I didn't belong to the NRA for years becaused they pissed me off, then I realized the scope of their reach. They are the big dog fighting for our gun rights period, you may not agree with everything they do or everyone who represents them but its the best show in town. Politics is the same way, you have to choose Democrat or Republican if your going to complain about who's in office.

Posted by: Robert J | February 5, 2010 8:54 AM    Report this comment

Kool-aid, NRA, gun rights, am I reading this all in one context? Let me remind all of us that our biggest battle to date is the next Supreme Court battle in McDonald, et, al. Let us all keep our minds clear and not cluttered in the BS of the day (or this blog) as to what we really are all about and that is the free and unfettered, uncompromised version of the Second Amendment. Semantics aside, if we do not unite under a single banner, then we might just as well go whistling into the night. Put the petty issues aside and join that NRA. Without their lobbying power we might just as well bury the guns in the back yard NOW!!!

Posted by: MasterGuide | February 4, 2010 9:50 PM    Report this comment

TW3, et. al.: As a relative newcomer to this forum and based on the comments I have read, I don't think Gaviota is a Kool-Aid drinker or a liberal. He seems to be a rational conservative with a flair/talent for the written word that I admire. Is he right all the time? No, ..., but who is?

Kevin: If "it" refers to Klukowski's article, these SCOTUS cases get complicated in a hurry. James H explained it better than I can. Chief Justice Roberts has shown a preference for narrowly-drawn arguments and decisions and, if so in this case, it will favor the NRA position.

Posted by: mookien | February 4, 2010 8:50 PM    Report this comment

Tried to read it, got to frustrated with the spin machine. Just keep fighting.

Kevin

Posted by: Kevin L | February 4, 2010 7:19 PM    Report this comment

Flame away Gav - you, a liberal? Seriously?

James H - I'm not a Wayne-o-phile because I have seen him flame out like Rosie O'Donnell going after a spoon manufacturer (some sarcasm there) during a televised interview. Yes, it was eons ago, but IMO his rhetoric is what pushes away many of the shooters. I realize that there are plenty of people who use extreme hyperbole in an attempt to erode the 2nd Amndmnt (or any other viewpoint they oppose), but - again, IMO - WL uses scare tactics far more often than we need.

Like I said though, we should all be members. The NRA is a great organization and does a lot more than lobby.

Posted by: PVB | February 4, 2010 5:45 PM    Report this comment

"Gaviota does not need any more Kool Aid; he has already willingly jumped into the Liberal media's vat."

How do the rest of you guys feel about this statement? Should I invoke Gaviota's Law, or should I play "Flame the Troll?"

Gaviota

Posted by: Lee W | February 4, 2010 4:57 PM    Report this comment

Gaviota does not need any more Kool Aid; he has already willingly jumped into the Liberal media's vat. The importance of the McDonald case has not eluded the SAF or the NRA, or the USSCA, or wide listing of State shooters organizations. His attempts to read dispute into legal sharing tactics and load bearing allocations is playing right into the liberal mantra. Go to to the NRA/ILA website www.nra/ila.org and see for yourself.

Posted by: TW3 | February 4, 2010 2:24 PM    Report this comment

I really Don't Care who is doing what to protect our Rights in these cases as LONG AS THEY GETER DONE!!!! and Keep Our Rights under the Constitution. I belong to several gun rights orgs.
God Bless America and Our Troops Past, Present and Future.
Keeping to My Oath Locked, Loaded, and Keeping My Powder Dry.

Posted by: bear1 | February 4, 2010 2:24 PM    Report this comment

It is very important that everyone read the link provided by mookien on February 4th. The NRA is heavily involved in this case and for all the right reasons - they are focusing on the second amendment without introducing peripheral and extraneous arguements with broader, but less supportable, implications.

I do not understand the comment by PVB re LaPierre. I used to think that the NRA's positions were extreme - no registration at all, for example. Then I became familiar with the results of registration in the UK, Australia, and Canada. No compromises on the 2nd amendment!!!

Posted by: Jim in Houston | February 4, 2010 2:14 PM    Report this comment

I belong to both the NRA & SAF. Gaviota, I would not be surprised if they did agree to divide up the battles, however are sniping about who gets what. The SAF memberships have increased I know, not sure about the NRA. The Col. is correct, the NRA is the big dog in the fight and all of us gun owners should support what they do for us even though we may not agree 100%.

Posted by: Robert J | February 4, 2010 11:36 AM    Report this comment

(Everyone) knows that the News Media is about as ANTI-GUN as they come,therefore ----Believe nothing of what you read (in the newspaper)& half of what you see. SUPPORT THE NRA-----

Posted by: Jayr | February 4, 2010 11:22 AM    Report this comment

The NRA's Achilles's Heel is Wayne LaPierre, IMO, and once he goes, I think they will see steady improvement in membership. That said, we all should be members. The NRA does a lot more than lobby, but if even half of all gun owners joined, programs would be even better than they already are. Lobbying might get better, too.

"McDonald and three co-plaintiffs were carefully recruited by gun-rights groups attempting to shift the public perception of the Second Amendment as...."

Like the extreme left doesn't do this. Like mainstream "entermedia" doesn't do this. Blatant hypocrisy.

Posted by: PVB | February 4, 2010 11:00 AM    Report this comment

I may be wrong, too. The NRA membership may be growing. The NRA may be cooperating with SAF. But the public sniping which occurred last month between the SAF's lead attorney, Alan Gura, and the NRA's lawyer, Paul Clement, doesn't seem to indicate that there's much cooperation going on between the two.

Gaviota

Posted by: Lee W | February 2, 2010 4:45 PM    Report this comment

I may be wrong here, however I thought I read that the SAF and NRA were dividing up the battles as to not step on each others toes or waste funds.

Posted by: Robert J | February 2, 2010 6:49 AM    Report this comment

According to news reports, this entire lawsuit has been entirely funded, managed, and pursued by the Second Amendment Foundation, without a dime or a lawyer contributed by the NRA. If that is true, the NRA leadership should be ashamed of themselves, and their latest attempt to horn in and take credit for someone else's work should be loudly and strongly condemned. The trouble is that this is not an isolated incident, this is their regular modus operandi, as we saw in the Emerson, Silveira, Heller, and Katrina cases. I agree with Canovack and others here that we need all hands on deck in the gun-rights fight, and the NRA is the big dog in the pack, but their behavior lately is nothing more than disgraceful, low class, political plagiarism.

No wonder the NRA membership is collapsing as people flee the burning house.

Gaviota

Posted by: Lee W | February 1, 2010 7:24 PM    Report this comment

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