January 10, 2014
Of a Judge’s Ruling, Police Chief’s Words and Professor’s Research: Developments of Note in the First Days of 2014
In the first full week of 2014 we are seeing some very interesting developments involving the Second Amendment rights of American citizens and the firearms industry that strives to serve them.
First, from Chicago on Monday came the ruling from Judge Edmond E. Chang of the U.S. District Court for the Northeastern District of Illinois striking down the City of Chicago’s 2010 ordinance that banned virtually all sales of and transfers of firearms within the city’s limits.
We were extremely pleased to see that Judge Chang saw that the city could not prove that this ordinance was doing anything to reduce criminal activity, while it was clearly infringing upon the rights of law-abiding citizens to have firearms for self-defense and other lawful purposes. After all, the right of Americans to keep and bear arms under the Second Amendment also necessitates that they have the right to acquire those firearms through lawful commerce.
In so ruling, the judge applied the Supreme Court’s rulings in the Heller and McDonald decisions and not only delineated another aspect of constitutional protection for citizens, but also recognized that lawful commerce itself is protected, which is an important determination for our industry. The Windy City’s anti-gun politicians may appeal the decision or try another approach to excluding this part of the Bill of Rights from their municipal jurisdiction, but the ruling is both correct and heartening. Read the decision.
Also heartening is the willingness of Detroit Police Chief James Craig to speak up for the rights of “good Americans” to carry concealed firearms for their own protection. Even if they believe it, most urban police chiefs will not go there for fear of running afoul of the preferred anti-gun narrative of the elected officials to whom they must answer. We do not agree with Chief Craig’s views on all firearms-related issues, but we respect his advocacy for the good citizens of Detroit and their right to protect themselves against the predators in that troubled city.
Equally interesting was an earlier and a very supportive CNN discussion of Chief Craig’s views that included researcher John Lott, author of More Guns, Less Crime, whose work is often criticized, but has never really been refuted.
John Lott and all advocates for public policy discussions that are based on fact instead of emotion received a New Year’s gift, in the form of a new study by Quinnipiac University economist Mark Gius published in the latest issue of the academic journal Applied Economics Letters. Prof. Gius examined nearly 30 years of data and concluded that stricter gun laws, including the federal and state-level “assault weapons bans,” do not result in a reduction in the murder rate. In fact, this work found the opposite that an increase in concealed carry permits has actually reduced incidents of crimes involving guns. He explains this in a Fox News interview.
Quinnipiac University and Prof. Gius are located in Connecticut, where in 2013 the General Assembly rushed to pass stringent gun-control legislation following the terrible tragedy at the Sandy Hook Elementary School. It is sad to say that the law making was based on emotion and that gun control proponents used the opportunity to pass ill-conceived legislation that would have done nothing to prevent that tragedy. From within the state’s own borders comes a new empirical study that shows that these laws have never worked to improve public safety. We could say that history repeats itself. I’ll be sure to send Governors Malloy (Connecticut), Cuomo (New York), O’Malley (Maryland) and Hickenlooper (Colorado) each a copy of Prof. Guis’ study.