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Chicago`s Mayor Looks To World Court

Monday, June 28, 2010

All eyes are on the Supreme Court this month as it wraps up its current term and issues its final rulings for the year. By the time you receive this magazine, the court may already have decided the landmark case of McDonald v. City of Chicago; if not, a decision is only days away. The ruling will be big news no matter what happens, and I know you await it as eagerly as I do.

Less excited about the upcoming decision is Richard Daley, the current mayor of Chicago, who seems to think there’s a good chance his city will lose the case. If the Chicago handgun ban is ruled unconstitutional, city leaders will no doubt take a page from the playbook of the District of Columbia Council in creating new restrictions to defy the court and thwart follow-up lawsuits. (For more on the latest developments in D.C., see p. 62.) Their aim, through red tape and restrictive regulation, will be to preserve Chicago’s handgun ban in spirit, if not in letter.

“Well, that’s why we have about 12 million lawyers. You never know until you try.”

But Mayor Daley has already signaled that he will go much, much further. Already, he has promised to pursue a lawsuit of his own. As reported by Chicago radio station WLS, “Since the mayor’s getting very little done in Springfield or Washington or in the courts trying to expand gun control, now he wants mayors in other countries like Mexico to drag American gun makers into the World Court in The Hague.”

This absurd proposal sounds familiar--another spin on blaming the gun industry for the acts of criminals in bogus lawsuits, just as dozens of cities (Chicago included) attempted in the late 1990s. But municipal lawsuits against the gun industry seeking damages for the acts of third parties are now forbidden by a federal law--the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, which was enacted in 2005 thanks to your grassroots support. So to pursue this ridiculous theory yet again, Daley must seek a venue outside our borders.

The effort to sue gun makers at the World Court was announced at Mayor Daley’s “Global Cities Forum,” a gathering of leaders from cities all over the world--cities in Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, Turkey, Kenya, Cameroon, Ecuador, the Russian Federation’s Republic of Tatarstan, a Chilean commune and many more.

The forum featured the longtime anti-gun activist group, The Joyce Foundation, as a “Patron Sponsor.” Speakers included the mayors of Amman, Jordan; Johannesburg, South Africa and Istanbul, Turkey. The forum billed itself as “a key international symposium … to discuss innovative ideas about the future of our cities.”

This meeting, held in Chicago of course, came against a backdrop of a sharp spike in Chicago’s murder rate, sparking a debate among city politicians on how to respond to the outburst of violence.

According to the Chicago Sun Times, “Mayor Daley argues that more gun control will address the city’s rising homicide rate. Others have proposed that the National Guard be called in.” (Bear in mind, of course, that Chicago’s near-total ban on handguns remains in place unless and until the Supreme Court issues an opinion striking it down.) But the mayor insisted that “this is all about guns, and that’s why the crusade is on.”

Guns were on his mind back at the forum. He persuaded more than a dozen mayors from foreign nations to approve a resolution calling for “redress against the gun industry through the courts of the world.”

Daley described the resolution as “coming from international mayors. They’re saying, ‘We’re tired of your guns America … we don’t want those anymore because they kill and injure people.’”

Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter chimed in with a new found admiration for the Constitution, saying, “I love the Second Amendment. But I have a First Amendment right not to be shot.” His copy of the Constitution must be from a different country than mine.

The reporter from radio station WLS asked Daley what legal authority there is to sue the gun industry in the World Court, and reported his response as, “Well, that’s why we have about 12 million lawyers. You never know until you try.”

I can save the mayor the expense of international lawyers and more meetings with foreign mayors with a little simple advice: You’ve already tried gun control in every form, fashion and flavor. It has never worked, and never will. If the Supreme Court dumps your handgun ban, try something new--let your citizens exercise their God-given right of self-defense.

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