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Massad Ayoob on Guns

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Massad Ayoob

MEET OTIS McDONALD

Wednesday, March 17th, 2010

I spent part of yesterday with Otis McDonald, the lead named plaintiff in McDonald v. Chicago, now under deliberation by the United States Supreme Court. When the Second Amendment Foundation mounted this challenge to the Chicago handgun ban, they could not have made a better choice. Mr. McDonald is your quintessential hard-working, self-made American.

Beginning life as the son of a sharecropper in Mississippi, he served in the United States Army, spent thirty years working for a university, and is now trying to finish his life in peaceful retirement with his spouse. However, the Chicago neighborhood where he has owned a home since the 1970s has been increasingly blighted by dope dealers, gang-bangers, and the sort of punks who harass and harm the elderly.  He has been threatened on the street, and his home has been broken into numerous times.

Those who say, “You don’t need handguns because you can always buy a shotgun for home defense” should sit down with an open mind and listen to someone such as Mr. McDonald. “I’m 76 years old,” he points out. “Yes, I own long guns…but how long do you think it will take me to get up, get out of bed, and get my hands on a shotgun if someone is breaking in through the bedroom window?”

Justice Scalia wrote something similar in the majority opinion in Heller v. District of Columbia, which confirmed that the Second Amendment was an individual right, and set the stage for McDonald, which will determine whether the states are bound by the Heller decision.

Otis McDonald’s compelling words will soon be posted on the Pro-Arms Podcast, http://proarmspodcast.com. One of the last questions I asked him was what sort of handgun he planned to acquire if, as almost all SCOTUS watchers predict, the case that bears his name results in an opinion that shoots down the nearly 30-year-old Chicago handgun ban. His answer? A 1911 model .45 caliber semiautomatic pistol…a gun he became familiar with as a soldier defending his country.

Otis McDonald, photo by Gail Pepin

37 Responses to “MEET OTIS McDONALD”

  1. Mike H. Says:

    Mr. McDonald wrote a blank check to the United States government, which included the possibility of even giving of his life to denfend this great country. He, and every other citizen of the United States should be the benefactor of his service and millions of others who fought to keep this country great. One of those benefits is the 2nd Amendment. The right to protect himself and his family against those who would try to harm them. Semper-fi

  2. Bill Reiland Says:

    Mas,
    If you have the privilege of speaking or corresponding with Mr. McDonald again, pass along our deepest gratitude – he is a true patriot.

  3. Steve Says:

    Good luck Mr. McDonald. It’s outrageous that he has to go through all of this just to protect himself in his own home!

    These are interesting times.

    Steve

  4. BikerRN Says:

    Mas and Gail,

    If either one of you communicate with Mr. McDonald again please pass along my heartfelt best wishes and sincere gratitude for his service to our nation.

    He served our nation in uniform, and he is serving her now with this court case.

    Biker

  5. Winston Smith Says:

    It’s great that Otis McDonald is putting his name and reputation on this case, as there are so many of us from all over that are watching with extreme interest. Many, many thanks!

  6. Frank Nelson Says:

    God bless you Mr McDonald. It’s a tough road you’re on and you have my endless respect.

    and Steve, we’ve gone from “interesting times” to downright exciting times.

  7. Long Island Mike Says:

    At some point down the road I predict that Heller and McDonald will be honored by the very same gov’t that they had to fight against. Hope Gura and his team are included at the time.

  8. Hank McGill Says:

    When he wins, I hope each American gun company who makes 1911s send him one of their best models. What he is doing for freedom loving Americans, let alone the firearms industry, is beyond priceless.

    I’d chip in a few bucks towards buying Mr. McDonald something from Yost or Harrison or one of the other fine gunsmiths.

  9. D. B. Wells Says:

    MR. McDonald, keep fighting the good fight, I hope you win and I also hope you never have to use that gun for anything more then target practice, The Big Windy has become a terrible city in places, so bad even the politicians are leaving, for places like D.C.

  10. Phil Sisson Says:

    Look that man!! Look deep into his eyes. He positively exudes character and confidence. I’d be proud to know him as I friend.

    Blessings my man — blessings!

  11. Warren O'Leary Says:

    Yes, Mr. McDonald is an American patriot; he knows what part of it allows him the ” liberty ” ( from God, The Father ) for self-preservation of his life/family and property ! I’ll keep Otis in my prayers.

  12. Ty S. Says:

    I agree with an earlier post that said they hoped all the manufacturers of 1911 frame pistols send Mr. McDonald their finest model. In fact, let’s go a step further. How about an Mr. Otis McDonald collector’s edition, engraved with his name and all the bells and whistles. Make them available for sale to the public as well. May God Bless you Mr. McDonald!

  13. johninmontana Says:

    Otis McDonald – a true American hero! The scum in washington dc would not even be worthy of shining his shoes. God Bless you, sir!

  14. Stinky Says:

    People that are against self defense (guns) have never been shot and killed by a robber before. See, it would change their minds about self defense if they got shot and killed by someone while on hold with 911. Problem is, once they get shot and killed, their opinions don’t matter any more.

  15. Stinky Says:

    I used to steal. One day, my dad told me that eventually, all robbers get shot. So I stopped stealing. Today, if you tell a child in Chicago that he will get shot if he steals, the child will laugh in your face, and tell you he can steal as much as he wants, because guns are illegal. How many are NOT killed, because there was a gun around? Deterrence is the objective. Open carry is better deterrence than the death penalty.

  16. John Capps Says:

    Let me understand this: The culture has deteriorated so much in states like Illinois that people no longer stand up for their basic rights (like the right to bear arms). They can’t convince a majority in their state or local government to protect this right, so they go crying to the FEDERAL court, trying to claim the mistaken notion that the Bill of Rights was intended to be incorporated against the States, further eroding the freedom that the Bill of Rights (read the 10th amendment please) was trying to protect.

    And if you don’t understand what I am talking about, then you ought to remedy your ignorance before the next time you cast a vote, wright a check to the NRA, or congratulate people for giving the federal government the authority that it ought never to have had.

    “A government big enough to give you everything you want is a government big enough to take from you everything you have.” — Gerald Ford

  17. Gary Says:

    Thank you Mr. McDonald for once again carrying the flag of freedom for our country.

  18. Robert Coltrin Says:

    Otis has served his country twice now, as as soldier and now as a civilian. I would like to see American gun manufactures issue a commerative edition to present to him in honour of his service. As a manufacture of concealed carry vests. I would like to present him with one of our vests as a thank you for his service
    Robert Coltrin
    CEO
    Concealed Carry Outfitters
    http://www.concealedcarryoutfitters.com

  19. Reddick Harris Says:

    I applaud Mr. McDonald, all I need to know about him, I see in his face.
    I do hope Mr. McDonald gets have his 1911 .45 caliber semiautomatic pistol.
    In my home I have a S&W .357 magum revolver and a 12 gauge shotgun.
    All citizens should be able to have weapons to protect their homes.
    However, the NRA and other oragnizations muddy the waters allowing criminals to obtain automatic weapons…nobody but the military and police forces needs auomatic weapons.
    Common sense…people…the compromise.

  20. john Says:

    One can see from Mr. McDonald’s shifty visage that he cannot be trusted with a handgun! It is profoundly unfair and undemocratic that Mr. McDonald would seek to defend himself against a knife-wielding assailant with a handgun, an assailant who is merely breaking into his bedroom, and for all we know, simply wants to use the bathroom. We must stop attributing the basest of motives to those who would merely break into our houses in the middle of night, and even if possessed with less than honorable intentions, almost certainly be talked out of them with well-reasoned discussion. Any seasoned police officer knows that a break-in or assault is usually a plaintive cry for help! Let us not turn a deaf ear to such cries.

  21. Michael Ejercito Says:

    Otis Mcdonald will be for gun rights what Linda Brown was to racial segregation in public schools.

  22. Stickboy Says:

    Hank McGill has a great idea! (And I’d chip in a few bucks too!)

    He wrote:
    “When he wins, I hope each American gun company who makes 1911s send him one of their best models. What he is doing for freedom loving Americans, let alone the firearms industry, is beyond priceless.

    I’d chip in a few bucks towards buying Mr. McDonald something from Yost or Harrison or one of the other fine gunsmiths.”

  23. Mule Says:

    I have the utmost respect for Mr. Ayoob and wish Mr. McDonald all the best. Having said that, I believe the lawsuit is playing into the hands of the national government. If Chicago wants to ban handguns, that is beyond the jurisdiction of the national government. By bringing this case to the supreme court, the plaintiffs are asking the national government to override a local law. Are you sure you want to set such a precedent? If anything, this should be a matter for the state of Illinois and the city of Chicago. Sorry for raining on the parade.

  24. Captain Bob Says:

    Thank you, Otis, for what you are doing for all Americans. I’d like to shake your hand and tell you personally how much I appreciate your efforts. God bless you!

  25. cafengocmy Says:

    I do not understand the “incorporation” approach as regarding the 2nd Amendment. It is simply not relevant. The wording is absolute. It says “shall not be infringed period. I doesn’t say “congress shall make no law…”as the First does. The governments, state, federal, and local may not infringe. Neither may the Dean or the CEO or anyone else.

  26. Steve Says:

    I am a pacifist. I own no firearms and abhor war. It’s just how I am.

    However, I absolutely believe in the right to defend yourself and your property. It’s crazy this even made it into court. Mr McDonald is standing up for our rights as they are slowly being taken away. We must stand with him. Even those of us, like me, who have no intention of owning a gun.

  27. Geoff Says:

    The 2nd amendment does not give us the right to be armed. It was written with the purpose of preventing the federal government from infringing on our right to bear arms. It was not written so that the federal government could interfere with local laws. Instead of spending time and money trying to get the U.S. Supreme Court to override local laws, we should be using the time and money to educate others on the benefits and importance of liberty.

  28. BikerRN Says:

    Mas,

    Not trying to derail your thread, but I cannot let this pass. This is the sort of bovine fecal matter that gets guns confinscated in places like Chicago.

    “Reddick Harris Says:

    March 19th, 2010 at 3:19 pm
    I applaud Mr. McDonald, all I need to know about him, I see in his face.
    I do hope Mr. McDonald gets have his 1911 .45 caliber semiautomatic pistol.
    In my home I have a S&W .357 magum revolver and a 12 gauge shotgun.
    All citizens should be able to have weapons to protect their homes.
    However, the NRA and other oragnizations muddy the waters allowing criminals to obtain automatic weapons…nobody but the military and police forces needs auomatic weapons.
    Common sense…people…the compromise.”

    What you are referring to as “automatic weapons” are most likely either semi-automatic, illegally converted weapons, or just scary looking semi-automatic weapons that you find objectionable.

    I defend my home with a semi-automatic AR. Who is fit to tell me sir that I cannot own or use one? It certainly isn’t you sir. Your attitude, and others like you, is what has allowed the injustice of the Chicago Gun Ban to remain in place for so long.

    If I could I’d have claymores, mortars and fully automatic weapons for home defense. I am of the opinion that if the military has it, then the private citizen should be allowed to own it too, if the have the cash to pay for it. If you don’t want the citizenry to own it, then the military shouldn’t own it either for we are a nation of citizen soldiers, airmen and Marines.

    Biker

  29. James Says:

    The times we live in….Its easy to become so distracted, but miss the overall picture. I sympathize with Mr McDonald, but a Supreme court ruling on this (in the big picture sense) only opens the doors to further 10th Amendment intrusions. States were supposed to be sovereign entities, and while the Bill of Rights declared what the Federal Government could not take away from the States, it did not declare that the States could not make their own laws in regards to their particular circumstances. I find this case troubling, and I am cautiously optimistic. You may get a win for Chicago, but what in essence have you won? You have won the right to keep a gun under your pillow, but lost more of your States sovereign powers to an ever encroaching federal authority.

    You cant compare this to DC, which is (1) not a State, and (2) is Federal territory. Dont let this obscure what “might” be going on here. Dont take this case with a grain of salt. Do think long and hard about future ramifications…

    We Americans are so “live fast, live now, get what we want when we want it, and to hell with all others” that we never step back from our personal wants to look at what is going on around us….

    This comment I made is “food for thought”. I am not a Constitutional Scholar, do not claim to be correct, nor do I want to start a debate. All I am saying is “think people, think”…..

  30. Justin Says:

    James Says:
    “March 22nd, 2010 at 10:03 am
    The times we live in….Its easy to become so distracted, but miss the overall picture. I sympathize with Mr McDonald, but a Supreme court ruling on this (in the big picture sense) only opens the doors to further 10th Amendment intrusions. States were supposed to be sovereign entities, and while the Bill of Rights declared what the Federal Government could not take away from the States, it did not declare that the States could not make their own laws in regards to their particular circumstances. I find this case troubling, and I am cautiously optimistic. You may get a win for Chicago, but what in essence have you won? You have won the right to keep a gun under your pillow, but lost more of your States sovereign powers to an ever encroaching federal authority…”

    First, with respect, the states are not sovereign entities and have not been since the civil war. We learned that when you treat them as such, they tend to do some bad things (slavery, secession, Jim Crow Laws, Segregation, just to name a few). I agree that states do, and certainly should, have rights, but NOT at the expense of civil rights.

  31. Rick Says:

    Power and Honor. Fight the good fight. We are behind you, sir.

  32. Mike Says:

    While the idea of giving Mr McDonald a handgun is a great one, I’m curious to know whether or not there are any legal expenses that need to be taken care of. Is someone volunteering their time, or is Mr. McDonald having to pay out of pocket? How fortunate we are as a country to have men as brave as Mr. McDonald to stand up for whats right even if he lives in a city that actively fights against him.

  33. Jacques Ditte Says:

    Thanks Mas. and Gail for introducing us to another unsung American hero, as well as for your tireless dedication to defending the Second Amendment and teaching countless Americans the proper responsible use of firearms.

    Mr. McDonald, thank you sir, for your service to our nation! It is an honor to read about you. If there is a fund to help you pay for your cause i would like to contribute to it, if there is a fund to get you, your dream 1911, I would be honored to to offer you one. I will be following your case closely.
    God bless,

    Jacques Ditte

    “Excessive taxation will carry reason & reflection to every man’s door,
    and particularly in the hour of election.”–Thomas Jefferson, 1798

    God

  34. Michael Anderson Says:

    Say if a State would like to bring back slavery.Would the Tenth Amendment protect that state laws?

  35. cidergirl Says:

    Mr McDonald is an American patriot on many levels. As a 40 year old, divorced,white, law abiding, tax paying, handgun owning, American citizen, I truly believe that Mr. Otis McDonald is the neighbor I want on my block. I would not only bake him cookies on a weekly basis, but I would also gift him a yearly supply of LEGALLY obtained ammunition for his LEGALLY obtained firearm. This man is the personification of the American IDEAL. God bless Mr McDonald.

  36. Al Sharpton shows unreasonableness of anti-gun zealotry - INGunOwners Says:

    […] turn sincerely hope people don't see a picture of Mr. Otis McDonald…. you got that right! Massad Ayoob Blog Archive MEET OTIS McDONALD __________________ USPSA – A64677 Got Glock? – Join INGO […]

  37. Joe Pyle Says:

    Ottis McDonald a good friend and PATRIOT is in a failing health situation and it does not look good at all at this time he is in hospice care and not expected to return home. All in the United States needs to be sure and give him the true recognition he deserves as he has with stood the test of fighting the Chicago machine and WON for all citizens of the U.S. that believe in the constitution and Bill of Rights mainly the 2nd amendment. He is my friend and hero. I have been honored to have that privilege. Lets give him that place in history that he so deserves !!! He gave without question with a huge sacrifice to him and his family.

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