The Man Behind the Gun Suit

Otis McDonald wants the right to bear arms

By Andrew Greiner
|  Tuesday, Mar 2, 2010  |  Updated 11:57 AM CDT
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Guns Busted Uptown

AP

In this photo taken Feb. 25, 2010, in Chicago, Otis McDonald sits in his south side home. McDonald is one of four plaintiffs in the Chicago gun ban lawsuit going before the Supreme Court this week. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green)

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When the United States Supreme Court today weighs in on whether Chicago's 28-year-old ban on hand guns is constitutional they'll decide whether or not Otis McDonald has a right to blend into his neighborhood. 

McDonald, 76, is the man behind the lawsuit challenging Chicago's ban.

He says his lawsuit, McDonald vs. City of Chicago, is not about politics, but about protecting himself in a neighborhood riddled with gun-toting gang-bangers.

"I wish I could get Mayor Daley to feel what I feel and see what I see," McDonald told the Sun-Times. ''Maybe he could come here and spend the night, especially during the summer, and listen to what I listen to out my window. If he could, and he was open to that, he would see what's really going on in his city ... and maybe he would understand where I'm coming from.''

McDonald says he's been robbed numerous times in his Morgan Park home; he's witnessed too many crimes to count and he's been threatened with pistols around his home.

The liberal septugenarian wants a chance to protect himself.

He may get the opportunity to brandish a weapon after Supreme Court hears arguments for repealing the ban.

The Chicago and Oak Park cases have legs because of a 2008 decision by the court striking down a Washington, D.C.

The court ruled then that the Second Amendment gives individuals a right to possess guns for self-defense and other purposes, but that decision only applied to federal laws, such as Washington, D.C.'s.

The court has ruled that most of the rest of the Bill of Rights applies to state and local governments.

Chicago Mayor Richard Daley says local officials need flexibility to decide how best to protect their communities.

McDonald says individuals are the ones who need the flexibility.

"If this handgun ban was working, I would say, 'OK, no problem,' even though it's against my constitutional rights. But it's not working,'' McDonald told the paper. '"If law-abiding citizens could have handguns, a robber in the streets will have something to think about when he get ready to do one of these numbers on somebody. He don't know who might have one."

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