By Dave Workman
Ruling unanimously Nov. 18 on two lawsuits that had been filed against the firearms industry – one by the City of Chicago and Cook County, the other by five individual plaintiffs – the Illinois Supreme Court not only tossed out both cases, but dealt a serious blow to the gun control crowd.
It cannot have been a worse month for hard core disciples of gun control extremism, in Illinois and elsewhere. Their definition of sensible firearms law, short of repealing the Second Amendment, is to regulate gun ownership out of existence. Gun owners turned out in record numbers to keep George Bush in the White House, and then the Illinois high court rendered two painful opinions.
From a liberal court in a very Blue state came yet another ruling that gun makers, distributors and retailers are not responsible for the criminal acts of people who commit crimes with guns they obtained through illegal means. That position is virtually the same as courts have taken in 17 similar politically motivated lawsuits. In this case, there’s a biting admission that the Brady bunch hopes most people overlook.
Buried within the language of Justice Rita Garman’s 65-page opinion in Young v. Bryco and Chicago v. Beretta is a myth-busting observation around which gun control extremists will not be able to dance. Wrote Garman, in Young: “Both the manufacturer and dealer defendants are engaged in businesses that are highly regulated by state and federal law.” She used similar language in Chicago.
So much for the frequent allegation by gun control fanatics that the manufacture of teddy bears is more regulated than the gun industry. There are, as Garman notes, numerous state and federal laws and regulations governing the firearms industry. This does not even touch the thousands of local, state and federal laws regarding possession and use of firearms, for which Justice Garman also had a few remarks.
In the Young ruling, Garman points out that Illinois “state law prohibits minors from owning firearms,” and “municipal ordinances generally prohibit possession of handguns within the City of Chicago.”
“Nevertheless,” Garman writes, “numerous violent crimes are committed each year in the City of Chicago by juveniles armed with illegal weapons.”
Translation: A myriad of laws do not prevent criminal acts. Juvenile criminals are still criminals, and the existence of an ordinance forbidding honest citizens – upon whom these thugs routinely prey – from owning or carrying firearms for their own defense is not going to stop punk felons from using guns in crimes. Neither will suing gun makers into bankruptcy.
Just one day before the Illinois Supreme Court rulings were handed down, the Illinois House of Representatives voted 85-30 to override Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s veto of SB 2165, which would protect citizens from local anti-gun ordinances if they use a firearm to defend themselves or their families. The legislation was inspired by the case of Wilmette resident Hale DeMar, who shot a burglar in his home with a handgun, despite a 15-year-old handgun ban in that Chicago suburb. One week earlier the Senate also voted 40-18 to override the governor.
In case Gov. Blagojevich or Chicago Mayor Richard Daley haven’t grasped it yet, they are seriously out of touch – with the citizens, the legislature, the courts, and reality. Daley told the Associated Press that the court ruling was “disheartening.” That’s how politicians usually describe being creamed.
In the final analysis, what happened in Illinois is reflective of what has already happened elsewhere around the nation. Apparently, it just takes a little longer for the Left to grasp it in the Land of Lincoln. Judges are following the law, and avoiding the temptation to legislate from the bench. Legislatures are responding – albeit with very small steps in Illinois – to constituents who demand that their right of self-defense be held sacrosanct. Forty-six states have some form of concealed carry law on the books, and Illinois is one of the four remaining holdouts.
The Illinois Supreme Court and the Illinois Legislature have both chalked up wins for common sense. In the process, they have further eroded the ability of gun control proponents to demagogue their values onto the backs of law-abiding citizens and legitimate businesses. As the Brady crowd is fond of saying, that’s a “good first step.”