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Summary Judgment

Americans Wage Nationwide Fight For Gun Rights

Aug 01, 2010 | by William Perry Pendley

In the wake of the June ruling by the Supreme Court of the United States, in McDonald v. Chicago, that the Second Amendment right to keep and bear Arms applies to the States via the Fourteenth Amendment’s Due Process Clause, Chicago politicians declared that they would find a way around the 5-4 ruling. That is bad news for Otis McDonald, the lead plaintiff, a 76-year old Black Democrat and resident of Chicago’s far South Side, who has watched his neighborhood deteriorate and the danger to himself and family increase since he and his wife bought their home in 1972. If it is any consolation to Mr. McDonald, he is not alone.

All across the country, Americans, conscious not only of their right to keep and bear Arms Justice Alito called it among those fundamental rights necessary to our system of ordered liberty but also of the necessity that they provide for the safety of themselves and their loved ones, are holding politicians accountable and going to court, when necessary, to protect their rights. They include an Ohio woman, an Idaho student, and a rural Colorado couple. In the days and weeks ahead, their cases, and scores of others like them, may generate news but more than likely, will also guarantee the right to keep and bear Arms.

In Illinois, Ellen Mishaga of Mentor, Ohio, sued Jonathon E. Monken, Director of the Illinois Department of State Police who is responsible for issuing Firearms Owner Identification Cards (FOIDs) in federal district court, seeking the right to lawfully possess a firearm and ammunition when she travels to Illinois. Ms. Mishaga argues that Illinois’ bar on her ability to makes such purchases because she is not an Illinois resident and thus unable to obtain a FOID violates both her Second Amendment rights and her right to travel. On April 30, 2010, and again on June 14, 2010, Mr. Monken denied Ms. Mishaga’s application for a FOID, stating, No Illinois driver’s license number or state identification number provided.

In Nevada, Al Baker, a law student who lives in Boise, Idaho, sued Allen Biaggi, Director of the Nevada Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, and other state officials in federal district court seeking the right to lawfully posses and, if necessary for self-defense, to discharge a firearm in a state park. Mr. Baker, a NRA-certified Home Firearms Safety & Basic Pistol Instructor who is licensed in Idaho, Utah, and Oregon to carry a concealed handgun, is also an avid outdoorsman and camps in northern Nevada. After Mr. Baker’s application for a special use permit was denied, he was advised that, if he brings a firearm for personal protection into Wild Horse State Recreation Area near Elko, he will be in violation of state law.

In Colorado, Tab and Debbie Bonidy, a rural couple who must drive 10 miles roundtrip to the Avon Post Office because mail delivery is not available at their home, notified the Postmaster General that they will avail themselves of other legal remedies available to them if the U.S. Postal Service does not withdraw illegal regulations that bar them from carrying a firearm or parking their vehicle, if it contains a firearm, on Postal Service property. Both are licensed to carry a handgun and regularly carry handguns for self-defense from wild animals and criminals and believe that the Postal Service’s ban prevents them from exercising their rights when traveling to, from, or through Postal Service property.

Ms. Mishaga, Mr. Baker, and Mr. and Mrs. Bonidy hope that the federal district courts will adhere to the Supreme Court’s binding legal precedents in District of Columbia v. Heller and McDonald and rule in their favor and that the Courts of Appeals will sustain their victories. It is unlikely any of the cases will reach the Supreme Court; however, there too victory seems assured, at least until the Sotomayors and Kagans overwhelm the Roberts and Alitos.

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