Petzal: Another Supreme Moment

Having declared in 2008 (District of Columbia vs. Heller) that the federal government may not prohibit gun ownership, the Supreme Court has agreed to hear McDonald vs. Chicago, which will decide whether states and cities can just say no to guns. We should get a decision from the Supremes in June, and it appears right now that they will rule, 5-4, that Mr. McDonald may buy a handgun and keep it in his home. This will be good for all gun owners, because it will not only affect Chicago, but will enable challenges to other gun-strangling laws in other municipalities.

(Chicago is the city where, in October of last year, four high school students killed a teenager from a rival school with their feet, fists, and some boards that came to hand. Chicago's Mayor Daley, who is a bitter foe of gun ownership, did not say what he planned to do about the city's board-control problem.)

The really interesting part of the decision will regard whatever "reasonable" controls the Supreme Court may deem consistent with the right to bear arms. The Court may well come up with some kind of baseline as to what states can and cannot do to limit firearms ownership.

And while on the subject of gun control, contrary to our worst fears of a year ago it is actually being rolled back. President Obama, who is well down the road to being Jimmy Carter II, has other things to worry about.

An acquaintance of mine who is clued in politically says that if it's unlikely that Obama will be re-elected in 2012, he may try to get some kind of gun law passed, since he will have nothing to lose. However, he will have to get it through Congress, and two years from now, gun control will still be about as popular in those august chambers as leprosy, or saying no to lobbyists, so I don't see it happening.