Gun Stories of the Week: Chicago’s Lethal Illogic of Max Gun-Control Laws, Lax Gun Laws
TOP STORY Chicago’s lethal illogic: Max gun-control laws, lax gun laws Chicago, the city that argued it could cherry-pick through...
Chicago’s lethal illogic: Max gun-control laws, lax gun laws
Chicago, the city that argued it could cherry-pick through the Bill of Rights to decide which Constitutional rights it would “allow” and which ones it wouldn’t, has the highest gun violence rate among the nation’s major metropolitan areas despite having the nation’s strictest gun control laws.
This irony isn’t lost on Chicago’s beleaguered police force, which is asking the city’s aldermen for a change in logic or, for a change, some logic.
It goes like this: Instead of imposing gun control laws on those who obey laws, why not impose tougher gun laws on criminals engaged in gang warfare on city streets?
After all, as Daniel Rivero noted in an Oct. 13 Fusion.net blog, “It’s pretty hard to get shot if you’re in jail.”
According to the Chicago Sun-Times, the Chicago Police Department claimed in early October that “tougher gun laws could have saved an estimated 74 people from getting shot and killed so far this year.”
A CPD internal review revealed 74 gun homicide victims would have been in jail for illegal gun possession when they met their end if tougher sentencing rules were in place. Meanwhile, the CPD said, 86 shooting suspects would also have been in jail on the same charge had they been given harsher sentences.
In Chicago, illegal gun possession is not a violent crime, even though the city is under siege by illegal gun possessors (aka, criminals) committing violent crime. Sentences range from 1 to 3 years for illegal gun possession. Few serve the maximum 3 years with most released before the 1-year minimum, according to the CPD.
If the 74 victims had been serving sentences longer than the 1-year minimum for illegal gun possession, they would be in county jail or state prison right now instead of dead. And if the 86 shooting suspects had been serving sentences longer than the 1-year minimum for illegal gun possession, they, too, would be in county jail or state prison, but they’d still be serving a sentence for illegally possessing a firearm, instead of serving a sentence for killing or maiming someone with an illegally possessed firearm.
According the Chicago Sun-Times, through Oct. 5, there were 2,249 shooting victims and 370 murders in Chicago in 2015, a 21 percent increase over the same period in 2014.
CPD Spokesman Anthony Guglielmi told the Chicago Sun-Times, “The bare minimum is that (illegal) gun possession should be treated as a violent crime. The data underscore why we need to create a culture of accountability for those who engage in gun violence.”
But, as Fusion.net’s Rivero notes, “The implications of the department’s analysis are notable because they pit two core ‘progressive’ talking points against each other.”
That being gun control laws and a long overdue nationwide reevaluation of mandatory sentencing laws for nonviolent crimes.
There doesn’t seem to be anything progressive or logical about applying mandatory sentencing laws to those convicted of non-violent crimes — primarily drug-related — and not to violent criminals with a history of violence convicted of illegal gun possession.
That just doesn’t make a lick of sense, the CPD says. “The bare minimum is that gun possession should be treated as a violent crime,” Guglielmi said.
Even the local media is catching on, recognizing that imposing strict gun control on law-abiding citizens is hardly “progressive” if you don’t have gun laws that impose harsh sentences on criminals. “You can’t have it both ways,” Rivero writes.
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Wisconsin, Michigan bills aim to eliminate deadly ‘gun-free zones’
Bills introduced in the Wisconsin and Michigan legislatures aim to end the lethal hypocrisy of requiring students attending public colleges and universities, as well as concealed permit holders, to be disarmed and put their lives at risk in “gun-free zones.”
A bill introduced on Oct. 12 would put an end to “gun-free zones” in and around Wisconsin’s public colleges and universities. The bill’s co-author, state Rep. Jesse Kremer (R-Kewaskum) told the Associated Press that ending the ban would “send a clear signal to taxpayers in Wisconsin that we are serious about the safety and security of our students and we won’t be providing a steady stream of defenseless, unarmed victims around these universities.”
The University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents has the authority to ban guns in and around college campuses through “gun free zones,” a power enshrined in Chapter 18 of the state’s administrative code. Although Wisconsin became one of eight states that allows concealed carry on campus in 2011, no one — except, of course, armed criminals — can legally carry a firearm in a “gun-free zone.”
Kremer’s bill gets rid of a rule, which, he told the AP, has been “a full disarming of all of our students” who become “soft targets” of “criminals and thugs.”
The bill guarantees the right of personal protection for all law-abiding citizens, and it will help prevent violence in the vicinity of college campuses, he said.
On Oct. 13, two bills advanced in Michigan’s Senate Judiciary Committee would allow people with special permits to be allowed to bring concealed firearms inside schools and other “gun-free” areas.
According to the AP, the bills would let people apply for an exemption to carry their concealed weapon into areas that are currently off limits, including schools, child care centers, sports arenas, large concert halls, bars, places of worship, hospitals, dorms and college classrooms.
They would also prohibit people from openly carrying guns in those areas, which permit holders are currently allowed to do under Michigan law.
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), 19 states ban firearms on college campuses: California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee and Wyoming.
In 23 states, according to the NCSL, the decision to ban or allow concealed carry weapons on campuses is made by each college or university individually: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and West Virginia.
Eight states have provisions allowing the carrying of concealed weapons on public college campuses: Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Mississippi, Oregon, Texas, Utah and Wisconsin (except in “gun-free zones”). During the 2015 legislative session, the Texas’ legislature passed a bill permitting concealed weapons on campus and making it the eighth state to permit guns on campus. The legislation will take effect in August 2016.
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Maine becomes 11th state with Constitutional/Permitless Carry Law
Maine’s Constitutional/Permitless carry measure officially became the law of the land on Oct. 15, making it the 11th state to scrap concealed carry permitting in favor of so-called “constitutional carry,” where citizens can carry a concealed firearm without applying for a permit.
According to the Bangor Daily New, the statute applies to residents and non-residents who are 21 or older, or military members age 18 or older. Anyone who is not otherwise banned from possessing a firearm can now carry a concealed handgun in the state without a permit.
The law also authorizes a person to possess a loaded pistol or revolver while in a motor vehicle, trailer or other vehicle being hauled by a motor vehicle, according to the Associated Press.
Firearms are still prohibited in a number of places, including courthouses, schools, state parks, federal buildings and on private property when banned by the land owner.
Before the law went into effect, explains the Bangor Daily News, a gun owner needed to obtain police-issued permit before being allowed to carry a concealed handgun. To get the permit, applicants had to go through background checks, have fingerprints taken and fill out six pages of question about criminal history, domestic violence investigations, mental health disorders and drug use. Applicants were also required to present proof that they took a gun safety course and pay a $35 fee, according to the Bangor Daily News.
Maine joins Alaska, Arizona, Kansas, Vermont and Wyoming (for residents) as full constitutional carry states, while Idaho, Montana, New Hampshire, New Mexico and Oklahoma allow permitless concealed carry under conditions.
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IN THE COURTS
Wisconsin ruling could spur lawsuits against gun retailers
A Wisconsin jury on Oct. 13 ruled that a gun store must pay $5.73 million in damages to two Milwaukee police officers shot by a firearm bought at the store which, some experts say, could prompt a surge in lawsuits aimed at the firearms industry and at the federal law’s exemptions for firearms retailers.
“We may be at the threshold of something, but you can’t predict it right now,” Marshall S. Shapo, a law professor at Northwestern University and an expert in product liability, told Mark Berman of the Washington Post. “When you get a blip like this, it may signal that there’s a target of opportunity but you have a long way to go.”
According to documents filed with the Wisconsin Supreme Court, in 2009, Milwaukee police officers Bryan Norberg and Graham Kunisch attempted to stop Julius Burton, 18, for riding a bicycle on a sidewalk. Burton opened fire, hitting Norberg in the face, shoulder and knee, and Kunisch in the face, hand, shoulder and neck,
Burton was found guilty in 2010 and sentenced to 80 years. Jacob Collins, who bought the gun, was convicted of violating federal gun laws and sentenced to two years in prison.
Norberg and Kunisch filed a civil lawsuit against Badger Guns, the store that sold the gun to Collins that Burton used to shoot them. They argued the store knew, or should have known, Collins was buying the firearm for Burton, who was too young to buy the gun.
According to the Washington Post’s Berman, jurors deliberated for about nine hours before coming to a decision. Among other things, the jury found the sale to be negligent and that the negligent sale was responsible for the injuries to both officers. They awarded them more than $5 million in damages.
Badger Guns attorney James B. Vogtsy told Berman in an e-mailed statement that he and his clients expect to challenge the ruling in appellate court. “Significant legal issues were decided in the case that impacted the evidence the jury was permitted to consider and the legal standards they were told to apply,” Vogtsy said. “We will appeal.”
According to Josh Sanburn in an Oct. 14 time.com article, only two other cases filed against gun dealers for selling a firearm linked to a crime have reached trial since 2005, when Congress passed the Protection for Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA), which provides broad immunity for gun sellers. Earlier this summer, Sanburn writes, a similar lawsuit found that an Alaska gun seller was not liable for a firearm it had sold that was later used in a 2006 murder.
However, 10 other lawsuits are in the works, including another suit against Badger Guns brought by two other Milwaukee officers shot with guns bought from the store, Jonathan Lowy, the director of legal action at the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, told Sanburn.
The Brady Campaign has also filed suits in Indiana, New York, Pennsylvania and Florida in cases involving straw purchases.
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