Gun Rights Video News

SAF's Alan Gottlieb on MSNBC's Hardball


Otis McDonald

Thursday, April 1st, 2010
CCRKBA for April is namingOtis McDonald of Chicago theCCRKBA Gun Rights Defenderof the Month.McDonald is the lead plaintiff inthe McDonald v. City of Chicago casechallenging the constitutionalityof the Windy City’s handgun ban.The United States Supreme Courtheard oral arguments in the caseon March 2. Observers expect adecision within months.In nominating McDonald for theAward, John M. Snyder, CCRKBAPublic Affairs Director, noted that“Otis has been sticking up for ourprinciples in a most articulate andstraight forward manner in theface of much criticism for doing so.He’s gutsy as well as principled,and quite gentlemanly besides.He certainly deserves a CCRKBAGun Rights Defender of the MonthAward.”In 2008, in its landmark Districtof Columbia v. Heller decision, theSupreme Court ruled that theSecond Amendment recognizes anindividual right to keep and beararms and that the Washington,D.C. ban on the private possessionof handguns was unconstitutional.Since the District of Columbia isa federal city, the decision left openthe question of whether or notthe Second Amendment preventsstates and localities from denyinggun rights to individuals.McDonald and his co-plaintiffs,including the Second AmendmentFoundation and the IllinoisState Rifle Association, want theSupreme Court to incorporatethe Second Amendment throughthe Fourteenth Amendment as aguarantee to individuals againststate and local governments, andtherefore declare the Chicago bannull.Otis’ other co-plaintiffs includeAdam Orlov, David Lawson, andColleen Lawson.Otis is becoming a “public face ofgun rights,” according to the ChicagoTribune.The Midwestern daily newspaperwrote that, “from behind the wheelof his hulking GMC Suburban,76-year-old Otis McDonald leads acrime-themed tour of his MorganPark Neighborhood. He points tothe yellow brick bungalow he saysis a haven for drug dealers. Downthe street is the alley where fiveyears ago he saw a teenager pull outa gun and take aim at a passing car.“Around the corner, he gestures tothe weed-bitten roadside where hesays three thugs once threatened hislife. ‘I know every day that I comeout in the streets, the youngsters willshoot me as quick as they will a policeman,’says McDonald, a trim manwith a neat mustache and closelycropped gray hair. ‘They’ll shoot apoliceman as quick as they will anyof their young gangbangers.’”Otis, who keeps two shotguns athome, says he needs a handgun todefend himself.In April 2008, Otis, who is a retiredmaintenance engineer, agreed toserve as lead plaintiff in a lawsuitchallenging Chicago’s handgun banof nearly three decades. He walkedinto the Chicago Police Departmentand applied for permission to obtaina .22-caliber Beretta pistol. That wasan initial step setting the lawsuit inmotion.McDonald is a Democrat, longtimehunter, and African-American. Hebelieves that being allowed to carrya pistol would eliminate what hesays is the advantage bad guys havehad over him for too long.“I am a man of my convictions,”he proclaims. “My mother was likethat.”Otis grew up near Fort Necessity,Louisiana, which he says was a verysmall town, just “two stores and acotton gin.”He was one of 12 children bornto sharecropper parents and sayshe liked to hike into the backwoodsand hunt with his Marlin singleshotrifle. “I wasn’t but seven. Outthere by myself, I’d get some rabbits,squirrels, ‘coons, opossums.”When Otis was 17, his motheremptied her savings of $18 and paida stranger to drive Otis to Chicagoso he might make a better life forhimself. He worked first filletingfish at State Fishery and worked atother jobs before joining the U.S.Army, serving three years as anartillery officer.After his Army service, Otislooked around for jobs and finallygot steady work as a janitor at theUniversity of Chicago nearly 50years ago. He retired after 32 years.Over the years, says McDonald,local punks broke into his modestframe house three times. He saysthey got away with TVs, electronicequipment, hunting rifles, and“anything they could sell for a quickbuck.”Otis wants to be allowed to havea pistol in his house to protect hisfamily if necessary. He lives withhis wife of 52 years, Laura and hisdaughter and grandchildren areregular guests.