Activists, pols disappointed by U.S. Supreme Court gun decision

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A young church musician was gunned down two years ago as he loaded musical instruments into a car in a church parking lot. In 2007, 34 Chicago Public Schools students were felled by gun violence, and this year, nearly 30 students were slain by guns. Now,

“We’ve got kids everyday being shot down. It seems like it (Supreme Court ruling) will open the door to let this continue," said Pam Bosley, mother of 16-year-old Terrell Bosley who was killed in 2006 after attending music practice at a South Side church. Bosley, a Roseland resident, said she hears gunshots all day long.

If Chicago loses its fight, things will only get worse, she said. Within a day of that June 26 landmark ruling upholding the Second Amendment’s provision on the right to bear arms, the Illinois Rifle Association, the National Rifle association, the Second Amendment Foundation, along with several residents, filed suits to reverse the city’s handgun ban. Suits were also filed the same day in suburban Evanston, Morton Grove and Oak Park.

The suits stated owners want their handguns to be kept in their residences for “lawful purposes, including self-protection and the protection of their families and loved ones.” Mayor Richard M. Daley, a staunch opponent of the ruling, said the court’s decision was “frightening,” and he will vigorously fight to keep the city’s handgun ban in tact. Aldermen and state legislators also expressed their outrage about the ruling.

“It is a nightmare not only for the local police but for citizens in many of our neighborhoods. I think the Supreme Court is out of touch with those of us in many urban neighborhoods who face tremendous levels of violence. The proliferation of guns has fueled and exacerbated the violence,” Ald. Toni Preckwinkle (4th) said. State Reps. Ken Dunkin (D-5th) and LaShawn K. Ford (D-8th) concurred. Dunkin said some will look at the ruling as an opportunity and some will see it as a means to protect themselves, considering the rise in gun violence across the city. Either way, too many people are dying, especially the youth, he said.

“We’ve got an increase in gun violence amongst young folk, primarily who know each other. I can only hope that a lot of the knuckleheads and the criminals have not been paying close attention to the Supreme Court decision,” Dunkin said. Ford hopes for the same but knows the media coverage that the decision has received makes it difficult for anyone to stay out of the loop.

He plans to “continue the fight in Springfield for more stringent gun laws, and helping the city and state fight to keep the ban on handguns as is.”

Defender contributing writer Jakina Hill contributed to this report. Kathy Chaney can be reached via e-mail at kchaney@chicagodefender.com.

______ Copyright 2008 Chicago Defender. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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