Gun Stories of the Week: Chicago Anti-Gun Coalition Claims Constitution Violates Civil Rights

TOP STORY
Chicago anti-gun coalition claims Constitution violates civil rights

Apparently, in the upside-down-world that is Chicago, the Constitution violates civil rights.

Chicago anti-gun zealots, still simmering over the 2010 Supreme Court McDonald ruling that restored the Bill of Rights to Chi-raq, are suing three suburban towns for complying with state and federal law – or, as Bob Owens writes in a BearingArms.com blog, “for not infringing deeply enough on the rights of citizens who want to purchase firearms.”

The lawsuit was filed July 7 in Cook County Circuit Court by the Reverend Michael Pfleger of St. Sabina Catholic Church on Chicago's South Side and the Reverend Robin Hood, a pastor on the West Side, and other plaintiffs–including two mothers of sons murdered by criminals.

The complaint, filed against the towns of Riverdale, Lyons and Lincolnwood, alleges that gun shops there violated civil rights laws because guns purchased in stores there are used overwhelmingly in crimes that affect black communities in Chicago, bringing down property values, harming businesses and causing distress.

In Illinois, it is up to municipal governments to license and regulate gun dealers. The lawsuit demands a Circuit Court judge to order the towns to force the gun shops to do background checks on their employees and to take steps to reduce gun purchases by straw men.

According to the Chicago Sun-Times, similar lawsuits have had limited impact. The Illinois Supreme Court in 2004 dismissed a lawsuit Chicago brought against gun dealers and others after undercover officers posed as gang members and bought dozens of guns.

With 400-500 murders a year, almost all with guns, Chicago has earned the nickname “Chi-raq.” Yet, the city has some of the most restrictive gun laws in the nation, being forced by the Supreme Court in 2010’s McDonald ruling to grudgingly acknowledge that the 2nd Amendment does, indeed, exist.

Owens notes in his July 8 BearingArms.com blog that Illinois has, perhaps, the most onerous and restrictive firearms regulations in the nation. The buy a gun in Illinois, residents must first obtain a Firearm Owners Identification (FOID) card, which is issued by the Illinois State Police only after federal and state background checks. Then, for every sale made by a Federal Firearms License (FFL) holder, the purchaser must complete ATF Form 4473. The FFL will use that information to conduct background checks: The NICS (National Instant Criminal Background Check System) background check administered by the FBI. This same information also goes to the Illinois State Police to run another background check to ensure the purchaser hasn’t become a prohibited person since their FOID card was originally issued.

Whew.

“Put in the bluntest possible terms, this is a frivolous lawsuit,” Owens writes. “The apparent goal of the suit is to harass these communities until they pass Chicago-style ordinances that make it impossible for gun shops to do business within these suburbs. This bizarre civil rights lawsuit has no merit, and should immediately be dismissed with prejudice by the judge who receives this case.”

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BILL BANS AMMO BANS
Proposed law clarifies ‘vagaries’ exploited by ATF to ‘chip away’ at basic rights

Utah Congressman Rob Bishop, along with 49 other co­sponsors, on July 6 introduced the Lawful Purpose and Self Defense Act (HR 2710), which aims to restrict the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) from banning ammunition used in AR­15 rifles.

Additionally, according to Nicole Smith of Sentinel News, HR 2710 would modernize the 1968 Gun Control Act, prohibit the ATF’s ability to restrict other firearms and ammunition, such as shotguns and shotgun shells, and prohibit Presidents from bypassing Congress when making policy that affects the 2nd Amendment

“The founding fathers recognized that the right to bear arms is fundamentally tied to self-defense,” Bishop said in a prepared statement when introducing the bill. “This is as true today as it was over two centuries ago when the Bill of Rights was ratified. The ATF has exploited vagaries present in federal gun law to chip away at basic rights. This legislation will slap the over­reaching hand of the federal government and restore some of the freedoms our grandparents enjoyed.”

National Rifle Association Executive Director, Chris Cox praised Bishop’s efforts and pledged support. “On behalf of the NRA’s 5 million members, I want to thank Representative Bishop for his leadership in protecting our Second Amendment rights,” Cox wrote in a press release. “Rob Bishop understands this issue is about freedom and protecting us from government overreach and intrusion.”

The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF also hailed the bill. “The 2008 Supreme Court’s decision in District of Columbia v. Heller noted that the core purpose of the Second Amendment is self-defense,” In an article posted by Ammoland.com, the NSSF noted, and the language of HR 2710 will more accurately reflect this core meaning of the right to bear arms.”

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STATE ROUNDUP
Maine adopts unpermitted concealed carry; similar N.H. bill vetoed

Maine is now the seventh state to “allow” residents to carry a concealed firearm without a permit while New Hampshire – despite recent adoption of a new law by state legislators – will apparently not join the list.

Maine Gov. Paul LePage on June 8 signed a bill that will erase the requirement for residents to obtain a permit to carry a hidden firearm. Maine joins Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Kansas, Vermont and Wyoming in “allowing” residents to carry a concealed firearm without a permit. The law goes into effect 90 days after lawmakers adjourn later this month.

Meanwhile, on July 6, New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan withstood withering criticism from Republicans after she vetoed a newly adopted law that lifted the licensing requirement for carrying concealed firearms, claiming the bill would negate the state’s “common sense” gun laws.

Existing New Hampshire law allows anyone who can legally own a gun to carry it openly. But to carry it out of sight, such as in a purse or under a jacket, a person must get a license from local law enforcement or town officials. According to the Associated Press, Hassan issued the veto with an accompanying prepared statement:

“New Hampshire’s current concealed carry permitting law has worked well for nearly a century -- safeguarding the Second Amendment rights of our citizens while helping to keep the Granite State one of the safest states in the nation. Our concealed weapons permitting system gives an important oversight role to local law enforcement, while allowing for appeals through appropriate channels.”

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COMMON NONALIGNED SENSE
Poll confirms growing gun-control antipathy among Independent voters

A Zogby poll released July 6 confirms what a May 2014 Washington Post-ABC News poll revealed: A growing number of the growing number of voters who register as Independents align more with the Republican Party instead of the Democratic Party on guns, supporting gun rights over gun control.

In the 2014 Washington Post poll, conducted by telephone in April 2014, revealed that 44 percent of the 1,000 respondents identifying themselves as Independents said their views on gun rights reflected that of Republicans, while 39 percent said their views were more in tune with that of Democrats.

According to the recently posted Zogby poll, conducted nationwide online by Zogby Analytics among 1,341 likely voters, those who identified themselves as Independents lean toward the GOP’s guns position by nine points -- 45 percent to 36 percent.

According to John Zogby in a July 6 blog on Forbes.com, the poll asked the following question: Which of the following statements is closer to your view – A or B?

Statement A: One side says there are too many guns in circulation in the US and without universal background checks, which close the ‘gun-show loopholes’ and federal registration for all firearms purchases, not to mention outright banning high capacity magazine weapons like semi-automatics, there will continue to be more opportunities for violent and mentally ill people to get guns and kill innocent people.

Statement B: Others say that the Second amendment is designed to allow all Americans to protect themselves from potential harm, to ensure that law enforcement agencies and the government do not have a monopoly on gun possession, and that there are already laws to protect people against criminal behavior. Supporters of the Second amendment and pro-gun groups also point to areas of the country where concealed carry laws have been passed and crime rates have decreased.

Overall, Zogby writes in Forbes, 40 percent of likely voters nationwide support the more gun control issue position of Statement A and 43 percent favor the more pro-gun stance in Statement B, while 17 percent are not sure. “No surprise,” he continues, “that Democrats identify with A by three to one (60 to 22 percent) and Republicans are the exact reverse with only 22 percent siding with A while 65 percent favor B. Independents lean toward the guns position by nine points (45 percent B to 36 percent A). “

As AWR Hawkins writes in a July 7 Breitbart.com blog, “The GOP did not simply defeat gun control Democrats in November 2014, they shellacked them. And the continued Independent support of gun rights over gun control keeps the GOP in position to repeat those wins, as long as they stand strong for guns and the Second Amendment between now and 2016.”

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