Wednesday, June 30, 2010

How To Evade Responsibly And Rationalize Callousness And Criminality

How To Evade Responsibly And Rationalize Callousness And Criminality

Anti-Israel "Lawfare" in Europe

U.S. Hijacks ICC Conference : By Francis Njubi Nesbitt, June 29, 2010

Right Wing Nuttiness And Opposition To Help For Homeless Vets

Anti-Israel "Lawfare" in Europe

by Soeren Kern : June 30, 2010 at 5:00 am

( This will tell where these folks are coming from )

Pro-Palestinian activists are launching a new round of anti-Israel lawsuits in European courts. The lawsuits, which exploit the legal principle of universal jurisdiction, are being used to harass current and former Israeli political and military leaders, with the twin aims of tying Israel's hands against Palestinian terror and delegitimizing the Jewish state.

Although so far none of the lawsuits filed against Israel in European courts has reached the stage of a trial in which Israeli leaders have appeared before a foreign judge, even short of actual prosecutions, pro-Palestinian activists have scored huge propaganda victories by charging Israeli officials with war crimes. This alone makes the pursuit of frivolous universal jurisdiction lawsuits a winning proposition for many activist groups.

On June 23, two Belgian lawyers, representing Palestinians, filed suit in Belgium against 14 Israeli officials on charges of war crimes allegedly committed during the Gaza War, a three-week armed conflict that took place in the Gaza Strip during the winter of 2008–2009. Those charged include Israeli opposition leader Tzipi Livni for her role as foreign minister during the war, former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilnai, and other Israeli military and intelligence officials.

The 70-page lawsuit is based on a report by Judge Richard Goldstone, which claims that an Israeli attack on a mosque near the Jabalia refugee camp in the Gaza Strip killed 16 civilians, including women and children. The plaintiffs, who include one Palestinian-Belgian national and 13 Gaza Strip residents, were either wounded or lost relatives in the attack.

The Goldstone Report claims that Israel committed war crimes during the offensive, code-named Operation Cast Lead. The 575-page report calls for prosecuting Israeli officials in international courts should Israel refuse to conduct a credible investigation into its army's conduct during the war.

Georges-Henri Beauthier and Alexis Deswaef, the two lawyers representing the Palestinian plaintiffs, say Belgium's attorney general will evaluate the case "by the end of August" to determine whether it provides just cause to open formal proceedings against the Israeli officials for "committing crimes against humanity."

Pro-Palestinian activists in France said on June 13 that they would file a lawsuit against Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak both in France and at the International Criminal Court in The Hague. The International Civil Campaign for the Protection of the Palestinian People (CCIPPP) and Palestinian Charity and Aid (CBSP) are suing over the Israeli army's May 31 raid on the Gaza-bound Freedom Flotilla in which nine activists were killed. The groups say Barak should be held personally responsible for the deaths.

The lawsuit, which has been joined by three members of the French parliament, forced Barak to cancel a visit to Paris, during which he was scheduled to open the Israeli pavilion at the Eurosatory defence industry trade show on June 14-18. Pro-Palestinian activists had also called for French police to arrest Barak at the airport upon his arrival in the country. The Israeli Defense Ministry said Barak decided to remain in Israel "until the team of experts investigates the raid on the Gaza-bound flotilla."

The new lawsuits are the latest salvo in a long-running propaganda war against Israel that is being waged in European courts under the guise of universal jurisdiction.

In December 2009, a British court issued an arrest warrant for Tzipi Livni for her role in Operation Cast Lead. Livni, who had been due to address a meeting in London, ended up cancelling her attendance. The court issued the warrant at the request of lawyers representing Palestinian victims of the Gaza War. The 1988 Criminal Justice Act gives courts in England and Wales universal jurisdiction in war crimes cases.

In October 2009, Deputy Prime Minister Moshe Ya'alon cancelled a planned trip to Britain for fear of being arrested there. Ya'alon had been invited to London to attend a fund-raising dinner. As chief of staff of the Israel Defense Forces from 2002-2005, Ya'alon is one of several current and former senior officers being pursued by pro-Palestinian groups for so-called war crimes.

In September 2009, a British court was asked to issue an arrest warrant for Ehud Barak, who was attending a meeting at the Labour party conference in Brighton. He escaped arrest after the Foreign Office told the court that he was a serving minister who would be meeting his British counterparts. The City of Westminster magistrates' court ruled that as a minister, Barak enjoyed immunity under the 1978 State Immunity Act.

In September 2005, retired Israeli Major General Doron Almog arrived in London on an El Al flight, only to learn that a British judge had issued a warrant for his arrest for allegedly violating the 1949 Geneva Convention in Gaza. Almog stayed on the plane and was allowed to return to Israel.

In February 2004, a London court rejected an application for an arrest warrant to be issued against Israeli Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz. District Judge Christopher Pratt argued that as a government minister, Mofaz qualified for immunity. Pro-Palestinian lawyers had asked Pratt to issue an arrest warrant for Mofaz for allegedly committing "grave breaches" of the Geneva Convention in dealing with the Palestinian uprising.

In January 2010, a group of Israeli military officers called off an official visit to Britain over fears they could be arrested on war crimes charges. The delegation had been invited to visit by the British Army.

The arrest warrants have provoked a furious reaction in Israel; and British officials have now vowed to change the law on universal jurisdiction to make it harder to arrest foreign officials. In May 2010, Britain's new coalition government said it would seek to prohibit private groups from seeking to prosecute crimes committed abroad. British Foreign Secretary William Hague said: "We cannot have a position where Israeli politicians feel they cannot visit this country. The situation is unsatisfactory [and] indefensible. It is absolutely my intention to act speedily."

Spain is also pushing back against mounting abuses of universal jurisdiction. In May 2009, the Spanish parliament approved a measure to limit the power of judges to prosecute people for crimes committed abroad under the concept of universal jurisdiction. The parliament acted on fears that activist judges were abusing the Spanish justice system for politically motivated prosecutions.

Spanish judges have gained a reputation for activism in recent years by using the principle of universal jurisdiction to pursue cases against suspected overseas human rights violators, most famously the former Chilean dictator General Augusto Pinochet. Until recently, judges at the Spanish National Court (Audiencia Nacional) were pursuing more than a dozen international investigations into suspected cases of torture, genocide, and crimes against humanity in places as far-flung as Tibet and Rwanda. But many of these cases have little or no connection to Spain, and critics say the judges are interpreting the concept of universal jurisdiction too loosely.

Calls to rein in the judges increased when Spanish magistrates announced probes involving Israel and the United States. In January 2009, for example, Spanish National Court Judge Fernando Andreu said he would investigate seven current or former Israeli officials suspected of "crimes against humanity" in a 2002 air attack in Gaza that killed Salah Shehadah, a top Hamas militant. The Andreu case involved former Israeli Defense Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer; former Air Force Commander Dan Halutz; former head of the National Security Council Giora Eiland, and four other senior officials. Had Andreu decided to issue an international arrest warrant for any of the seven Israelis, they could have been detained upon arrival in any EU member state.

Most of the universal jurisdiction lawsuits that have been presented in Spanish courts have been the handiwork of one Gonzalo Boyé, a Marxist-Leninist "human rights lawyer" who earned his law degree through correspondence courses while in a Spanish prison. He was serving a 10-year sentence for collaborating with the Basque terrorist group ETA, and for his participation in the kidnapping of Emiliano Revilla, a well-known Spanish businessman. Boyé is now the Spanish representative of a group calling itself the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights.

The problem of frivolous lawsuits and freewheeling judges came to a head after Andreu rejected requests by Spanish prosecutors to suspend his inquiry on the grounds that Israel was already investigating the attack. Attorney General Cándido Conde-Pumpido has warned of the risks of turning the Spanish justice system into a "plaything" for politically motivated prosecutions.

For now, Israel's best option for avoiding a messy and precedent-setting trial will be to exert diplomatic pressure on European authorities to persuade them that they have a vested interest in protecting their justice systems from malicious abuse. That strategy, which appears to be working in Britain and Spain, should now be applied in Belgium and France.

U.S. Hijacks ICC conference : By Francis Njubi Nesbitt, June 29, 2010

The United States managed to foil the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) adoption of the crime of aggression as part of its mandate during the just-concluded review conference in Kampala, Uganda. Despite the fact that the United States is not a signatory to the Rome Statute, which established the ICC, and thus did not have a vote at the conference, U.S. negotiators cajoled a majority of the state parties to delay the definition and adoption of the crime of aggression for another seven years.

Where the Bush administration used threats and tried to intimidate, the Obama team offered sweet-talk and enticements to get states to delay the amendment expanding ICC jurisdiction to include the crime of aggression. It also managed to water down the definition of aggression and to exempt U.S. personnel from prosecution. The latter was a goal of the previous administration and the reason for U.S. hostility toward the ICC.

Crowing with satisfaction, the State Department reported on June 16 that the agreement had ensured “total protection for our Armed Forces and other U.S. nationals going forward.” This indemnity was achieved by a series of amendments that exempted non-state parties from prosecution and gave the U.N. Security Council the power to determine if a crime of aggression has occurred. If the Security Council finds that aggression has not occurred, then the prosecutor would have to seek a majority vote of pre-trail judges and even then, the Security Council would still have the power to thwart the process with a binding Chapter 7 resolution disapproving the action. Even if the United States becomes a state party to the ICC at some point, it could still opt out of having U.S. citizens prosecuted for aggression.

The Carrot Approach

The success in promoting U.S. interests was achieved by offering inducements, such as “generous” support for national legal systems in state parties through information sharing and support in arresting suspects. The focus on national legal remedies for war crimes and crimes against humanity has been touted as the alternative to international justice. The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda -- which I am currently visiting -- and the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, in particular have been criticized for spending hundreds of millions of dollars with little to show for it. Critics such as President Paul Kagame of Rwanda argue that the local Gacaca courts, based on indigenous norms, are faster and more relevant to ordinary Rwandans than distant international tribunals. Both the international tribunals and the local courts, however, suffer from the malady; both tend to prosecute the “losers” and ignore crimes that may have been perpetrated by the victors. The only exception is the Special Court for Sierra Leone which prosecuted both sides of the civil war.

Another incentive offered to mitigate U.S. meddling is “cooperation,” such as information sharing and support in the location and arrest of suspects. ICC officials argued before the conference that the United States could provide critical counterintelligence support in the search for, and arrest of, indicted war criminals such as Joseph Kony, leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army. The ICC charged Kony with individual criminal responsibility on 33 counts of crimes against humanity including, murder, mutilation, rape, mass burnings, and enslavement. It issued an arrest warrant for him on July 7, 2005. The United States has also designated Kony a “specially designated terrorist” (SDT), a designation that allows the United States to block his assets and criminalize any association with the said individual or group. Other SDTs include Osama bin Laden and Hamas.

A Renewed U.S. Role

Despite its success in delaying the ICC’s jurisdiction over aggression, the United States failed in its main objective to defeat the amendment altogether. Instead, the United States tried to politicize the ICC by enhancing the role of the Security Council and therefore giving permanent members the power to subvert the process. Ironically, this is the very issue, politicization, that the United States claimed was the problem with the ICC in the first place.

This renewed engagement with the ICC suggests that the Obama administration is interested in shaping international law while remaining immune to prosecution under the very laws it helps develop. In the case of the ICC, the cover story is that the United States is concerned that its troops engaged in peacekeeping around the world may be subject to malicious prosecution.

Critics of the ICC argue that it is a toothless watchdog because it relies on member states to arrest suspects. They point to Omar al-Bashir of Sudan who continues to thumb his nose at the ICC, despite an arrest warrant issued in 2009 for war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur. The counter argument is that international war crimes tribunals have successfully prosecuted heads of state including former Prime Minister John Kambanda of Rwanda, and former presidents Slobodan Milošević of Serbia and Charles Taylor of Liberia.

The latter case is particularly instructive as the Special Court for Sierra Leone, which prosecuted Taylor for his role in the civil war, is a hybrid of national and international justice, bringing together both local and international prosecutors and judges. Such hybrid processes have also worked in the case of Cambodia where a U.N.-backed tribunal is trying senior members of the Khmer Rouge for violations of international humanitarian law. Locating the tribunals in the countries where the crimes were committed both enhances the capacity of national judicial systems and involves the local communities in the process. In some cases, however, powerful individuals are able to thwart efforts to establish local tribunals. In such cases, for example the recent experience in Kenya, it may be necessary to resort to international courts.

Although critics are furious at the role of the United States in shaping the agenda of the review conference, this reengagement with international institutions is a positive step. The United States can play a role in the international arena by supporting efforts to bring suspects such as Kony to justice and putting pressure on sitting presidents such as Omar al-Bashir. Meanwhile, expanding the jurisdiction of the ICC to include aggression will be revisited in 2017, giving activists and other interested parties another opportunity to advocate for the increasing role of the ICC in international law.

Francis Njubi Nesbitt is a Foreign Policy In Focus contributor and teaches African politics and conflict resolution at San Diego State University. He is the author of Race for Sanctions (Indiana University Press, 2004) and is completing a book on peacemaking in the Horn of Africa.

Chilcot Inquiry: Diplomat Rejects Blair Claim That France Barred UN Iraq Vote

Sir John Holmes, former ambassador to France, said France had wanted to give UN weapons inspectors more time…

One of Britain's most senior diplomats today contradicted outright claims made by the Blair government to parliament and the public that France had scuppered any chance of UN backing for the invasion of Iraq.

Tony Blair repeatedly blamed Jacques Chirac, the then French president, for the failure to get a second security council resolution – something most senior government lawyers, including at first the attorney general, Lord Goldsmith, agreed was needed if the invasion was to be lawful.

The claim was repeated in evidence to the Chilcot inquiry, notably by Jack Straw, foreign secretary at the time of the invasion. Straw pointed to a television interview Chirac gave on 10 March 2003, less than two weeks before the invasion.

Straw claimed Chirac had made it clear France would not back a fresh UN resolution "whatever the circumstances". Straw added: "I don't think there was any ambiguity." Asked what his view was of Chirac's intervention, Sir John Holmes, British ambassador to France at the time, replied: "The words are clearly ambiguous."

Holmes suggested one interpretation was that Chirac was simply warning that France would veto a fresh UN resolution at that time since UN weapons inspectors had not been given a proper chance to do their job.

The former ambassador, now a senior UN official responsible for humanitarian affairs, was giving evidence to the Chilcot inquiry on its first day of public hearings since it was broken off at the start of the general election campaign.

The issue is important since, as Straw made clear in his evidence to the inquiry in January, the Blair government claimed Chirac's TV interview killed off hopes of a diplomatic solution. Straw claimed: "This was the great Chiracian pronouncement. Whatever the circumstances, he says, la France will veto. Unquestionably, if we had had a second resolution we might have avoided war and if we had not done so there would have been wider international and domestic consent."

However, Holmes told the inquiry that he interpreted Chirac's words quite differently. The former ambassador said: "I think he was saying that the text we have at this moment is not one we can support and we will vote against it." Asked by Sir Roderic Lyne, a member of the Chilcot panel, whether this interpretation was communicated to British ministers in London, Holmes replied: "We had expressed our view about what he may or may not have meant by what he said. It was ambiguous. There was genuine ambiguity there, there was scope for interpretation."

France was concerned about the issue of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq but wanted the problem solved through UN inspectors rather than an invasion, he said.

Holmes also questioned claims to the inquiry by Goldsmith. Goldsmith told the inquiry in January that he had consulted senior US officials and lawyers a month before the invasion. But said he could not have consulted France about UN resolutions since it had been clear Paris opposed an invasion.

Asked about Goldsmith's claims that he could not have gone to Paris, Holmes said: "I don't see why he couldn't have done".

British and US efforts to rebuild Iraq's police after the 2003 invasion were under-funded and unrealistic, the inquiry was told earlier. Douglas Brand, former deputy chief constable of South Yorkshire Police and the first UK chief police adviser in Baghdad, said there was an assumption that an efficient Iraqi police force would simply "rise like a phoenix" within months.

He criticised the lack of support he received, including the Foreign Office's failure to give him bodyguards for his first three weeks in Iraq.

In a statement Sir John Chilcot, told the hearings: "We have made a deliberate choice to conduct our work in a way which seeks to remain outside party politics." He added: "We intend to complete our report around the turn of the year. We remain committed to a transparent, open, thorough and fair process and conducting the inquiry in a cost effective way.".

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Supreme Court Second Amendment Decision Has Brought Out All Of The Hystericals.

The Supreme Court Second Amendment Decision Has Brought Out All Of The Hystericals.

This decision does not mean that a convicted violent Felony, mentally ill or anarchist has a right to go out and stock pile a barn full of AK-47s and the like, or that we all have the right to own a Thompson Sub Machine Gun without registration, or, that we all might as well buy some good fast leather and strap it on baby because dodge city has returned.

The hate remains that if all the gun haters and those who fear guns had their way those how want a gun for evil proposes would still find a way to acquire on and use it a way to take innocent life for whatever motivation. That unfortunately is the nature of our imperfect species.

A disarmed nation is ultimately an enslaved nation and a police state. I am of course a staunch supporter of the Second amendment and the Declaration Of Independence; for that I make no apologies. The evil and violence man perpetrates upon his brothers and sisters reside not in piece of steel but within ourselves.

The two second amendment decisions of the court do prohibit common sense regulation of fire arms ownership; they do, however, prohibit the disarming of private citizens and a means of self-defense against the darker instincts of some, or the day when the citizenry of this nation may again be called upon to be citizen soldiers in defense of our every right!

Violence Against Women

One advocate says a domestic violence conviction is no match for the Second Amendment -- but is he right? BY RYAN BROWN

Should perpetrators of domestic violence be allowed to own guns?

Now there’s a question I never thought I’d have to ask. Call me crazy, but I’d put people who batter their family members right up there with the mentally ill and Dick Cheney on the list of people who should never, ever be allowed near a gun. And Congress agrees; that's why in 1996 it passed a law that barred anyone convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence from transporting, owning or using a gun in this country.

But that may be about to change. In a contentious 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court ruled yesterday that state and local governments cannot enact bans on firearm ownership, and legal experts predict that the ruling will bring a flood of challenges to existing gun control laws -- including those that prohibit batterers from owning firearms.

Herb Titus, counsel for Gun Owners of America, told NPR today that challenging the ban on domestic violence offenders will be first on his slate of issues to tackle using the high court's new ruling. It might sound weird to single out people who beat their children and spouses as a minority group in need of having their civil rights protected, but as gun proponents like Titus see it, firearm ownership is not a privilege, it's a constitutionally protected right, and it should not be revoked on the basis of a minor criminal conviction.

Well, it's one thing if your little infraction against the law was shoplifting or failing a breathalyzer exam. But when you are convicted of violently endangering members of your own family -- probably habitually, since domestic violence is rarely an isolated event -- it makes sense that the law can throw up barriers that make it harder for you to, you know, violently endanger members of your own family.

And it's not as though we don't know how guns play into the domestic violence equation. Approximately 700 women are shot and killed by their intimate partners each year. In fact, American women are twice as likely to be killed by their partner as a stranger -- and guns cause that risk to skyrocket. One study showed that access to firearms increases the risk of partner homicide five-fold.

Yet, despite the evidence that putting guns in the hands of convicted domestic abusers puts their partners at a fatal risk, and despite the fact that the vast majority of domestic violence victims in this country are women, gun control is rarely framed as a feminist issue. Violence against women and gun violence form a Venn diagram with a dangerous and volatile center, but most advocates are still circling in the outer waters. But that could be a dangerous misstep, especially for this particular issue. As the American Prospect points out, no women's rights organizations submitted briefs, which are used by parties not involved in the proceedings to supply additional relevant information, to the Supreme Court in this case. To be fair, perhaps they weren't on 24-hour watch for activists charging out to support the gun rights of domestic abusers. But now that the issue is out there, the longer women's rights advocates refrain from stepping into the debate, the more leeway the pro-firearms lobby will have to set the tone of their argument about the "rights" of batterers -- and if you ask me, that's a loaded gun just waiting to go off.

Supreme Court Casts Doubt On Chicago Gun Ban, Extends Nationwide Gun Rights


June 28, 2010: BY FRAN SPIELMAN Staff Reporter

The Supreme Court held Monday that the Constitution’s Second Amendment restrains government’s ability to significantly limit “the right to keep and bear arms,” advancing a recent trend by the John Roberts-led bench to embrace gun rights.

The City Council’s Police Committee is scheduled to meet this morning to consider a replacement ordinance introduced directly to the committee by Mayor Daley.
(AP file)

By a narrow, 5-4 vote, the justices signaled in a case filed against handguns bans in Chicago and Oak Park, however, that less severe restrictions could survive legal challenges.

Supreme Court opinion

Mayor Daley responded to the long-anticipated ruling at a City Hall news conference flanked by the parents of young people struck down by gun violence.

“I’m disappointed by this decision, but it’s not surprising,” the mayor said.

Although the Chicago ban remains in effect until a federal appeals court invalidates it, Daley said the U.S. Supreme Court ruling essentially “means that Chicago’s current handgun ban is unenforceable.”

The City Council’s Police Committee recessed until 1 p.m. Tuesday to consider a replacement ordinance, provided it’s ready by then.

Daley has said Chicago gun owners could be required to take a training course, register their firearms, allow police to perform ballistics tests and even purchase liability insurance.

Today, he shed no additional light on the details.

But, he expressed “deep concern about some language” in the high court ruling.

Writing for the majority, Justice Samuel Alito wrote, that the “plight of Chicagoans living in high-crime areas” was recently highlighted when two state lawmakers urged the governor to call out the National Guard to stop the bloodbath on Chicago streets.

State Representatives John Fritchey and LaShawn Ford noted the number of people killed on the streets of Chicago “equalled the number of American soldiers killed during that same period in Afghanistan and Iraq and that 80 percent of the Chicago victims were black,” Alioto wrote.

“If, as petitioners believe, their safety and the safety of other law-abiding members of the community would be enhanced by the possession of handguns in the home for self-defense, then the Second Amendment right protects the rights of minorities and other residents of other high-crime areas whose needs are not being met by elected public officials,” Alioto wrote.

Hours after the Supreme Court ruling, Daley fired back.

“To suggest that Chicago’s elected officials haven’t done enough to protect our city residents shows many of our highest level officials don’t understand that gun violence pervades America — not just Chicago,” Daley said.

“Across the country, cities are struggling with how to address this issue. Common sense tells you we need fewer guns on the street, not more guns.”

Apparently concerned about an influx in gun sales in the wake of the Supreme Court ruling, Corporation Counsel Mara Georges said, “I would urge anyone considering buying a gun at this time to wait until the new regulatory structure is in place, then carefully review all applicable laws before making any firearms purchases.”

In anticipation of today’s ruling, Daley initially planned to introduce a replacement ordinance directly to the City Council’s Police Committee and rush it through today.

But after an hour-long meeting that focused on other issues, Committee Chairman Anthony Beale (9th) recessed the meeting until 1 p.m. Tuesday.

“There’s 200 pages of documentation that we’re going through. Some of the things are giving us guidelines to follow that will pass the Supreme Court’s test. So we want to make sure that, whatever we craft, it won’t get struck down again,” Beale said.

The chairman said he has seen an early draft of the ordinance, but he refused to discuss the provisions, adding, “There may be some things that were in it that we need to take out. And there may be some things that we need to put in.”

Two years ago, the Supreme Court struck down a similar handgun ban in Washington D.C. The nation’s capital responded by requiring gun owners to get five hours of safety training, register their firearms every three years and face criminal background checks every six years.

Washington gun owners are further required to submit fingerprints and allow police to perform ballistic tests. They must keep revolvers unloaded and either disassembled or secured with trigger locks unless they have reason to fear a home intruder.

“Some of the things that they passed in D.C. are very strong. But we can probably come up with something that’s a little stronger,” Beale said, refusing to reveal specifics.

Daley hasn’t tipped his hand on all of the specifics as he awaited the court ruling. But he has said to protect first-responders, he’s prepared to go above and beyond the replacement model crafted by Washington D.C. after its handgun ban bit the dust.

Writing for the Supreme Court, Alito said that the Second Amendment right “applies equally to the federal government and the states.”

The court was split along familiar ideological lines, with five conservative-moderate justices in favor of gun rights and four liberals opposed. Chief Justice Roberts voted with the majority.

Two years ago, the court declared that the Second Amendment protects an individual’s right to possess guns, at least for purposes of self-defense in the home.

That ruling applied only to federal laws. It struck down a ban on handguns and a trigger lock requirement for other guns in the District of Columbia, a federal city with a unique legal standing. At the same time, the court was careful not to cast doubt on other regulations of firearms here.

Gun rights proponents almost immediately filed a federal lawsuit challenging gun control laws in Chicago and of Oak Park, where handguns have been banned for nearly 30 years. The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence says those laws appear to be the last two remaining outright bans.

Lower federal courts upheld the two laws, noting that judges on those benches were bound by Supreme Court precedent and that it would be up to the high court justices to ultimately rule on the true reach of the Second Amendment.

The Supreme Court already has said that most of the guarantees in the Bill of Rights serve as a check on state and local, as well as federal, laws.

Monday’s decision did not explicitly strike down the Chicago area laws, ordering a federal appeals court to reconsider its ruling. But it left little doubt that they would eventually fall.

Still, Alito noted that the declaration that the Second Amendment is fully binding on states and cities “limits (but by no means eliminates) their ability to devise solutions to social problems that suit local needs and values.”

Last Friday, as Daley awaited the Supreme Court ruling, he continued to fret about the dilemma the ruling would cause police officers, firefighters and paramedics arriving at emergency scenes.

“What does a first-responder [do when they] come to your home, if you have 50 guns and you pointed a gun at your wife? You have a legal right to a gun,” the mayor said.

“Can we interfere with that display of a gun if you’ve shown it to somebody in your home? Of course not because everybody wants to sue the city. They want to sue you, the taxpayers, to try to get money out of your pocket. … That’s what we’re worried about.”

Northwest Side Ald. Tom Allen (38th) said the ban has done nothing to stop the bloodbath on Chicago streets as evidenced by the 26 people shot this weekend.

Asked whether Chicago would be more or less safe without the ban, he said, “It’s a wash. The bad guys are gonna have their guns and the good people who are responsible citizens — they will also have their guns. But they’ll do it in a responsible way in their home to protect their family or in their place of business to protect them from armed robbers.”

Daley has talked about requiring gun owners to take a training course, register their firearms, allow police to perform ballistics tests and even purchase liability insurance.

But Allen said there’s no guarantee that those measures will be any more effective than the ban itself, which was roundly ignored.

“We can make some legislation. We can add insurance as a component. And I’m hoping they will comply better than they do with mandatory auto insurance. Because one out of three people on the street doesn’t have insurance,” he said.

South Side Ald. Pat Dowell (3rd) said she’s disappointed in the ruling because, “It’s better to have a ban than not to have a ban.”

But she added, “I don’t think this ruling makes a bit of difference [about crime]. It does nothing to take guns out of the hands of bad guys.”

Allen argued that “in a round-about way,” the Supreme Court ruling may turn out to be a “good thing” for Chicago.

“It’s letting us re-think the mechanism of a flat-out ban because it hasn’t worked. ... It’ll allow law-abiding citizens to register a handgun. The public perception of people running wild on the street with a gun in their holster? That’s not true. It’s in your home or your place of business,” Allen said.

“Every law-abiding citizen is entitled to have that by state law. The Supreme Court evidently has ruled that we can’t deny them that right. So, let’s find a way to identify and register the handguns. And you can be sure that those people who register aren’t gonna be out killing people.”

Chicago’s 1982 handgun freeze — and a companion requirement that existing gun owners re-register their weapons every year — have been likened to Prohibition and denounced as a widely ignored charade.

Last week, Finance Committee Chairman Edward M. Burke (14th) acknowledged as much.

“There’s widespread disobedience of the law. There’s widespread flaunting of the law by people who strongly believe that they should have a weapon in their house,” Burke said.

“Just in the last 60 days, we’ve seen three instances where law-abiding citizens who had possession of a weapon in their home shot and/or killed violent offenders in their home or in the vicinity of their home. It’s noteworthy that no one has prosecuted those law-abiding citizens. Probably, we oughta pass a city ordinance and give ‘em each a medal.”

In that sense, Burke argued that a city registration implemented to replace the ban might be an improvement.

“Nobody can register it, so the city doesn’t know. Is it not better that the city knows who has a gun?” the alderman said.

Ald. Willie Cochran (20th), a former Chicago Police officer, said training and liability insurance should be cornerstones of any replacement ordinance.

“Just like we qualify as a police officer, qualifications should be required on a regular basis,” Cochran said.

“A police officer has to go and qualify once-a-year ... for the purpose of having accuracy, knowing how to use that weapon and safety regulations. If officers have to do it [and] people in Chicago want to own guns” they should have to do the same.

With crime running rampant in many black and Hispanic communities, Cochran said he expects more people to purchase guns now that the U.S. Supreme Court has affirmed it as a basic constitutional right.

“People are at a point in their lives right now where they want to protect themselves. The fact that this violence is permeating throughout the community of color is a very scary thing,” Cochran said.

“With the climate today, most people think that having a gun is a way to protect themselves ... not taking into consideration the dangers that go along with it. Will you really have time to get to that gun? More guns in the house means that a child can get to that gun. More guns in the house means that someone can break into that house and take those guns. More guns around means an offense will occur that shouldn’t, especially when we’re talking about domestics.”