Tuesday, July 7, 2015

EXTRA: Suburban gun runners?!?

It seems the Rev. Michael Pfleger has come up with a new tactic, both to get his name in the public eye and to try to go after gun shops that for decades have managed to frustrate himself and others who are concerned about the number of firearms that are currently spread out amongst the public in Chicago.

He’s suing the suburban villages where he often has protested in the past, contending those municipalities are lax in their enforcement of firearms-related laws.

AS A REPORTER-type person, I have covered protests held in the past by Pfleger and the Rev. Jesse Jackson outside of Chuck’s Gun Shop in suburban Riverdale. Their objections to that shop are long-running – they believe the store’s owners let just about anybody buy a firearm.

Even if the few existing laws concerning firearms ownership would ban those individuals from having pistols of any type.

Because I have covered these protests, I also know the ownership of Chuck’s says it is in compliance. The letter of the law is being followed, they say. They’re probably telling the truth!

Which means the laws themselves are lax. In need of revision. Except that the NRA-types who want to believe that firearm ownership is a God-given right will go out of their way to intimidate political people from doing any serious revisions.

WHAT MAKES THIS particular store so unique is its location. Riverdale is right on the southernmost border of Chicago, not far from the Altgeld Gardens public housing complex.

The store itself is about five blocks from the city limits. There likely are firearms originally purchased there that eventually wind up in the hands of Chicago residents who aren’t supposed to have them.

I suspect similar conditions exist for Midwest Sporting Goods in suburban Lyons and for Shore Galleries in suburban Lincolnwood.

So that led to the lawsuit filed this week in Cook County Circuit Court. Not against the gun shops or their owners. But against the municipalities themselves.

PFLEGER AND HIS allies on this issue want a judge to issue an order requiring the local governments to be more aggressive in policing those local businesses – even though in the past, local officials have said they’re doing everything the law requires of them.

WBBM-TV reported Tuesday that the lawsuit seeks to have the local governments require background checks of gun shop employees, more training for employees to prevent sales to people who intend to sell them to others who can’t make the buy themselves, keeping lists of those who are not allowed to buy firearms and also of all firearms they sell that later turn up as being used in the commission of a crime.

That’s a lot of work. I’m sure the store owners, when they eventually get around to responding, will claim it’s an undue burden being placed upon themselves.

Then again, there is the nature of the product that they’re selling. One that can be too easily misused to cause bodily harm to others in our society.

IT WILL BE interesting to see if the courts accept this line of logic. Even if a local judge does, how quickly will it wind up getting appealed to a court located outside of the city where the perception might be that someone will want to believe that some hunter seeking to shoot elk or deer or whatever is being denied his chance because of such restrictions?

This could wind up as a long-running battle – one that I wonder if it will outlast even Pfleger’s time on this planet.

There are certain issues that it seems will perpetually linger on; we’re never going to come to a resolution. Particularly since there are those in our society who believe that the solution to public violence is to require everyone to be armed.

Which is something the gun shops would probably like – more business for them and a boost to their financial bottom line.


1 comment:

Paul Selden said...

I wonder if the answer to the supreme court ruling is legislation that differentiates between urban, suburban and rural gun ownership. Hunting deer in downtown Chicago is different from hunting deer out near the Missouri river. Perhaps we need to fund a strategy that ties up gun ownership in the courts for the next decade or two, endless frivolous suits. All it takes is finding a few courageous judges to issue restraining orders preventing the sale of guns until the legal issues are settled. Of course, the real problem here is the ruling itself, establishing an individual right to gun ownership. How anyone can read the second amendment and extract that nonsense from it, I don't know.