The latest news from Chicago:
Where is the ethics issue here? I can think of several.
* The President has given lip service to gun control, but so far he has little to show for it. The White House has not been willing to spend political capital on this issue even though the President’s own home town probably suffers more from gun violence than any other city in the nation. Through last November they needed him more than he needed them.
* Political expenditures from the gun lobby explain in part why government at all levels continues to do nothing about gun violence.
* Many, but not all, of the politicians who refuse to support gun control laws also say they are “pro life,” whatever that means. Political life is full of contradiction, so we need to get used to it.
* Commentators, including lawyers, repeatedly reference “Second Amendment” rights when arguing against any gun control, even measures that would clearly pass constitutional muster under Justice Scalia’s opinion in District of Columbia v. Heller:
A lawyer must take care to accurately describe the law – including interpretation of the Second Amendment – when making written and oral arguments before a court (see e.g. FRCP Rule 11 and MR 3.3). Apparently lawyers think they can say anything they want about the Second Amendment in public discourse on gun control, even if what they say simply is not true. I do not question the First Amendment right to fantasize about the Second Amendment, but society should expect more from members of the bar.
* What about Second Amendment arguments that border on the ludicrous when applied to today’s world? For example some commentators argue that the drafters of the Second Amendment believed that, in order to prevent tyranny, citizens individually should have firepower equal to the firepower in the hands of the government. Under that theory the Second Amendment today would cover unmanned armed drones, nuclear weapons and lots more. To summarize, let’s just call this the “Osama Bin Laden interpretation of the Second Amendment”.
* Finally, what do we say to the Chicago mother who chose life for her children four times and all four times had her children’s lives taken away? Perhaps we should say that the City of Chicago, the State of Illinois and the United States government had no duty, and indeed no right, to protect her children from gun violence after they were born. It is more important that somebody else have the right to manufacture and sell guns destined for the streets of Chicago. And furthermore one can't even find this woman's name anywhere on the Federal Election Commission web page or OpenSecrets.org. She had a first amendment right to support financially the candidates and causes of her choice and apparently did not do so. That is her problem.
Or is it ours?