Washington Report: Updates From the Capitol

BP claims administrator pledges easier compensation process; Gun control laws weakened

High Court Ruling Weakens Gun Control Laws

High court's gun control ruling may have harsh consequences for African Americans.

The U.S. Supreme Court’s gun control ruling this week that cities and states must respect the right of individuals to own hand guns for self-defense was a big blow to some black lawmakers.

In McDonald vs. Chicago, in which three plaintiffs wanted to keep handguns in their homes for protection but were prohibited by Chicago ordinances from doing so, the court decided in their favor by a vote of five to four.

Rep. Robert Scott (D-Virginia) argued the Monday ruling was political and was made in deference to the National Rifle Association and that it strikes down decades of precedents. Rep. Danny Davis (D-Illinois) said he is heartbroken, and rightly so. Chicago recently experienced a shockingly violent weekend that resulted in 54 shootings and 11 deaths. The weekend before the ruling, 26 people were shot, and three died. According to a report released by the Violence Policy Center using data from 2007,  blacks represented 13% percent of the U.S. population but 49% of all homicide victims.

“We are trying desperately to control the number of guns that are available in Chicago,” Davis said. “Obviously the Supreme Court’s decision makes it more difficult to do that.”

Rep. Artur Davis (D-Alabama), in a contrarian opinion, said the court made the right ruling, despite the disproportionate impact of gun violence on black communities.

“The constitutional right to bear arms exists whether they are popular in certain communities or not. Those who are concerned about gun violence, which should be all of us, should take heart from the ruling that reasonable gun regulation can be enforced,” he said.

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