Not long ago, one of this blog’s readers asked me how bad a setback I thought the election of Rahm Emanuel as mayor of Chicago would be to gun owners’ civil rights in the city and in Illinois in general. I held back on answering until a recent trip to Chicago where I was able to pick the brains of activists on the ground there.
The answer is, predictions are mixed.
Some feel that since no one could be more rabidly anti-gun (and “rabidly” is not a word I use lightly) than outgoing Mayor Richard M. Daley (son of the legendary Richard J. Daley, who was a gun owner, hunter, and at least occasional handgun-toter himself), it can’t get any worse. At least one activist in the Windy City disagrees, telling me of a recent interview in which a reporter asked the Mayor-Elect if he was strong enough to handle all the problems in the huge metropolis, Emanuel reportedly replied that he had been strong enough to fend off the NRA while in Washington (at President Obama’s side). That does sound like some continuing ego investment in the anti-gun position from a politician who has always felt that way.
On the other hand, I can’t help but notice that Emanuel sat at the right hand of an anti-gun President as one of his most trusted advisors…and that during that time, said President has been so conspicuously distant from anti-gun politics that the Brady Bunch are ragging him on it. In the wake of the shooting of Representative Giffords in Tucson, an Obama spokesman said that the President would address the issue in two weeks…and that was a month ago, with nothing yet heard. Sure, Rahm Emanuel was already out of the Washington picture by then, at least publicly, but it tells us that the circle of which he was a powerful part has not been eager to attack gun owners at this time in American history.
With his ear closer to his Illinois home ground than usual during his mayoral race, Rahm Emanuel has to be aware that sentiment has strongly grown toward allowing legal concealed carry of handguns in public in that state, one of only two remaining in the nation that has no provision for it. See an example here: http://www.examiner.com/gun-rights-in-seattle/dueling-billboards-ccrkba-isra-v-mayors-bloomberg-notes-from-a-gun-show . All who know Rahm Emanual know he’s anti-gun…but none who know him have ever called him stupid, or ignorant of political trends in jurisdictions important to him. Almost certainly smarter than the mayor who preceded him – and, unquestionably, more lucid and more sane – it’s possible that he will concentrate on the very substantial REAL problems that face Chicago, and ignore the losing rhetoric song that Mayor Daley played on his fiddle like Nero while the genuine needs of his constituents burned around him.
The answer is, we don’t know yet where that’s going insofar as the new Mayor of Chicago, though there are promising things happening elsewhere in Illinois on this issue. Since the city already wasted millions fighting McDonald, et. al. v. Chicago, it would seem uncharacteristically foolish of him to waste his time attacking law-abiding firearms owners at this point in his, and his city’s, history.
Mas congratulates Colleen Lawson, one of the named plaintiffs in McDonald, et. al. v. Chicago, for all she has done for gun owners’ civil rights in Chicago, in Illinois, and nationwide.