7th Circuit Decision Opens the Door to Mandatory Gun Ownership

(courtesy gallup.com)

Rob Morse at ammoland.com writes:

Can public opinion require you to buy a gun? We can make that claim sound nicer and call it community standards instead of public opinion. Two federal judges said we can deny or demand firearm ownership. The judges allowed a city ordinance in Illinois to ban the ownership of modern rifles. It also bans ammunition magazines that hold than 10 cartridges. According to the judges, the city of Highland Park, Illinois passed an ordinance that is simply a regulation of the right to keep and bear arms in the home rather than an infringement on the right. In practical terms . . .

two judges allowed politicians to pander to their gun-ban donors as they legislated for headlines. Legal scholars will take apart the Friedman decision and show where it is wrong. In the mean time, let’s see what happens if the judges decision stands.

The judges said a city may limit firearms ownership based on feelings. The same ruling could also allow a city to require firearms ownership.

Let’s start with what the judges said in their decision. They said the Illinois firearms restrictions probably won’t work. That is a good bet since these restrictions won’t slow down criminals getting firearms any more than the previous 23 thousand firearms regulations already in place. Quoting the judge’s decision,

“A ban on assault weapons won’t eliminate gun violence in Highland Park, but it may reduce overall dangerousness of crime that does occur ….”

The judges allowed the city ordinance to stand even though the restrictions on armed self-defense are real while the possible benefits are theoretical. Any excuse will do when an Illinois politician wants to restricts firearms ownership.

There is more, and this is where the judge’s decision gets interesting. The judges said this real infringement on self-defense was justified simply because the public likes it.

“(if the city ordinance) has no other effect, Highland Park’s ordinance may increase the public’s sense of safety… If a ban on semiautomatic guns and large-capacity magazines reduces the perceived risk from a mass shooting, and makes the public feel safer as a result, that’s a substantial benefit.”

So we can pass laws that don’t work, as long as the law is politically popular. Give the judges an A+ for honesty, because that is exactly what politicians have done for years.

Consider race-based segregation of schools which was a horrible idea but made us feel better.

Alcohol prohibition was another prime example of political pandering to the public will. Welcome back to bad old days of the 20th century. Do you feel safer now?

Let’s take the judges at their word rather than argue with them. We can pass legislation that regulates the fundamental human right of self-defense. We can do so because the public feels safer. The judges may be surprised how the public “feels”.

A recent Pew poll found that more Americans think a gun in the home makes them safer rather than less safe. The poll also reported that a majority of citizens think it is more important for government to protect the right to own guns rather than to limit gun ownership. The firearms ordinance in Highland Park, Illinois is out of step with public opinion. The politicians are behind the times even if using public emotion is the right method to decide the issue.

A few cities have already enacted regulations that require firearms ownership, though these laws have never been enforced. Now these mandatory ownership ordinances can be enforced since the 7th circuit court has ruled on the supremacy of feelings. The judges said we can now demand guns in the home. We can, and should, enforce mandatory gun ownership with the full weight of state and police powers.. according to the judges. That is, after all, what would make people feel safer.

The legal decisions allowing the imposition of Obamacare gives us further encouragement. We can demand that citizens purchase firearms even if they don’t want them.. since that financial burden is “only a tax”.

Let’s probe a little deeper. There are many segments of the public we could consider as we weigh public feeling. Whose feelings count? Do we only count judges feelings? How about politicians feelings, the voters feelings, or the feelings of political donors. Do all their feelings count equally, or are some feelings more equal than other $$$?

The public says that a gun in the home make them feel safer. Is that one gun or many guns? It could be one gun per home. It could also be one gun per person. We can finally find out if Glock is better than Springfield.. according to public opinion. I can’t wait to hear what the polls say, because research polls are now public policy.

I wonder which community gets to regulate, so the public feels better. Do we decide by state, by city, or by town? Why not make laws for each village, or by each block? Now we’ve achieved the ultimate in democracy. What if one town wants guns, but the street where the university professors live doesn’t want them? This could lead to a lot of signs going up. “Warning- gun free zone for the next 500 feet.”

The best way to eliminate an unjust law is to fully enforce it. Which town will be first to demand my neighbors and I go out and buy a gun? I support this ultimate act of democracy; let us look at what each individual wants to do. Buy a gun if you want to.. or not. Now that is liberal democracy at its finest.

Some day our judges will catch up with liberty.. but we may have to lead them there kicking and screaming. In the mean time I have this advice to gun owners; take time to answer if a polling firm asks for your opinion.

About Rob Morse: By day, Rob Morse works as a mild-mannered engineer for a Southern California defense contractor. By night he writes about gun rights at Ammoland, at Gun Rights Magazine, Clash Daily and on his SlowFacts blog.   He is an NRA pistol instructor and combat handgun competitor.


  1. avatar Old Ben turning in grave says:

    Interesting analysis. If they can infringe on a constitutionally protected civil right simply based on majority feelings, there there are no constitutionally protected civil rights and the Bill of Rights is merely a set of suggestions.

    But we’ve been seeing this from the lawless left forever. I’ve read so many court opinions that basically boil down to: “The law is clear, but we don’t like what it says, so we’re going another way with this.”

    1. avatar int19h says:

      It’s not a left vs right thing, it’s a judicial deference vs judicial activism thing. This ruling is a very clear cut case of deference, where they’re basically saying that it’s not the job of the courts to second guess the legislature, if the latter decides to do something, short of very blatant and obvious unconstitutionality.

      Historically, deference was practiced by both left and right, depending on the issue. I recommend reading Damon Root’s “Overruled” for a fairly concise overview of where it came from, and where we’re now.

      1. avatar twency says:

        If only the judges would show a bit more deference to the Constitution…

  2. Um what part of Shall Not Be Infringed do these people not understand?

    1. avatar notalima says:

      All of it.

      1. avatar General Zod says:

        They’re too busy misunderstanding the stated purpose of the Second Amendment – that of making it possible for the citizenry to form a well-equipped and skilled militia should it be necessary – and interpreting the phrase “well regulated” in their preferred usage rather than interpreting it in context and in the vernacular of the 1780s as a basis to justify infringement.

        Hm. Hell of a run-on sentence, but I’m too done with this week to edit it into something better.

    2. avatar Dickie J says:

      I think they understand perfectly well. But they get a bit queasy at the notion that the explicit purpose of the 2nd amendment is to enable the benighted masses to keep government goons like themselves in check through the threat of high velocity lead.

    3. avatar SteveInCO says:

      They fail to understand the second 25% of it.

    4. avatar Stinkeye says:

      It’s pretty obvious that it’s the “not” part that they’re not understanding.

    5. avatar Gregory says:

      They do not understand all of it. So let’s move past the “shall not be infringed ” part they will NEVER EVER recognize and kick the bastards out of office.

  3. avatar LarryinTX says:

    We have FEDERAL judges who do not understand that a “regulation” of what guns we can have is a quite obvious infringement in its own right? Where do we find these idiots?

    1. avatar notalima says:

      Lift up any convenient pile of horse dung. You’ll find several.

    2. avatar Toasty says:

      Well we have this going for us. In McDonald’s oral arguments, both Kennedy and Roberts both said, “Prohibitions are not regulations.” My personal feelings are that if an AWB case goes to the SCOTUS, they will strike it down, but will explain that regulations are permissible. The blue states will react with a series of “payback” laws based on scary guns that make them annoyingly difficult to acquire, but constitutional (by court standards) by a hair.

  4. avatar GuyFromV says:

    I think that mandatory gun ownership is as infringing as denying gun ownership.

    1. avatar Chris says:

      I agree with you. The 2nd doesn’t say “shall be enforced.”

      1. avatar notalima says:

        Kinda’ like another thing that American’s are ‘required’ to buy now, eh?

        1. avatar Red in Texas says:

          Only better

    2. avatar Stinkeye says:

      I think that was pretty much the point of this article.

  5. avatar Gunr says:

    A gun in every home? I hope not! For then we would have people handling a gun who know nothing about firearm safety.

    1. avatar Chris says:

      We already have that. Many of them cops and armed services (active and former).

      Slippery slope.

    2. avatar notalima says:

      Millions of American drivers fit that profile as they roll their 2 ton death barges out into traffic every day as well 😀

  6. avatar pg2 says:

    How anything can be mandatory(gun ownership, health insurance, vaccines, ect) in an alleged free country is an oxymoron.

    1. avatar notalima says:


      There you have it.

  7. avatar Neminem says:

    Been there, done that: Second Militia Act of 1792, which required citizens to provide themselves specified arms according to their assignment in the militia.

    Plus, Kennesaw, Georgia in 1982 passed just such a mandatory household firearms ownership ordinance in 1982 — with a hardship exception, of course …This was in reaction to Morton Grove, IL banning all firearms in their town.

    1. avatar Joe R. says:

      Switzerland requires 1 full-auto firearm per household.


    2. avatar notalima says:

      Affordable Care Act of 2010 where it is mandatory for Americans to ‘buy’ a product.

      Maybe is we call it a ‘tax’ the Supreme’s will be okay with that as well 😉

      1. avatar Joe R. says:

        I (being the majority) would like to tax all of you some nice suppressors. I know, I know, it is a little meglo-maniacal, but you can shoot me later. 🙂

  8. avatar Joe R. says:

    That’s right all you GLOCK fans are buying Berettas.


  9. avatar Joe R. says:

    Why can’t everyone do two years of service in the Government, maybe as a constituency a_ _ raping senator or something. Those idiots are always attempting to foist society’s useful idiots on the military, why don’t we return the favor?

  10. avatar Former Water Walker says:

    Ummmmmm…”dangerousness”. Is that even a word? Sure a gun in every home-a chicken in every pot. Ain’t gonna’ happen…

    1. avatar notalima says:

      But a .GOV gun would be safe. It would have so many safety features to make it nearly impossible to operate, shoot electric tranq darts that stimulate orgasms that than stunning the offender, would take a blood sample from user, who prior to shooting would have to call 911 and get authorization for LE to ‘unlock’ the users ‘gun’, and would cease to functional after one shot, because TV says that all you need, right?

      /eats more daisies

  11. avatar SouthernPatriot says:

    There have not been many city or town ordinances which required gun ownership. In 1982, the Kennesaw City Council required the head of a household, with some caveats of personal or religious objection, etc. to have at least one gun. While crime in the greater Atlanta area continued to rise, crime in Kennesaw fell.

  12. avatar Ralph says:

    I’d feel safer without those two leftist nitwits on the Federal bench.

    1. avatar Old Ben turning in grave says:

      I pray every day the sane justices remain healthy until Obama leaves office. And I’m not even religious.

      1. avatar SteveInCO says:

        The not sane ones on death’s door? I want them to stick around until he’s out of office, too. And maybe for one more day after that; see, I’m generous that way.

        1. avatar JR Pollock says:

          I think Breyer will retire before Jan. 20, 2017 to give Bammy one last favor. I think The Ginz will have to be carried out. Word is she’s not too happy about the arm twisting they’ve been doing to get her to step down.

    2. avatar Geoff PR says:

      Ralph, after Obama won term 2, I added a special prayer on the prayer list at my dad’s church for the continued good health of the Supreme Court’s Justices.

      Dad was not amused.

      The priest actually smiled as he read the special prayer request.


  13. avatar Illinios_Minion says:

    “A recent Pew poll found that more Americans think a gun in the home makes them safer rather than less safe”

    And being familiar with ‘Land of Stinkin’ politics, it turns into DC like “you can have A gun, as long as it never leaves the house” like ideology.

    oh… “And it has to fit this list of ‘approved’ (nod to Komifonria) firearms.” It will be used against us…

  14. avatar David B says:

    Rob’s logic is flawed in one respect. The prohibition against alcohol was a RESOUNDING success. People may not have liked it, but it worked to limit alcohol from the masses. Al Capone and the boys get romanticized and blown out of proportion, but the overall good–yes, I said good–that it did cannot be minimized. Domestic violence decreased, men took their pay checks home instead of spending it at the bar, and crimes such as drunkeness and disorderly conduct fell.

    1. avatar Nick says:

      The scores of dead bodies, the rampant crime, the countless bootleggers… Need I go on? The only people who would herald such a result as a success are liberals.

      Alcohol didn’t magivally stop flowing during prohibition. People just hid it better, and paid a lot more for it. Speak Easy’s became common, bootlegging exploded, and of course the gangs turned into the equivalent of the cartel today, illegally importing and selling an unlawful product and killing competitors.

      Furthermore, we have prohibition to thank for the NFA. After all, without the rampant crime perpetrated by gangsters, the gun grabbers of the day wouldn’t have had an excuse to try and regulate everything.

      1. avatar David B says:

        You’re exaggerating. Don’t make stuff up.

        1. avatar Geoff PR says:

          No, David B.

          He’s not exaggerating. New York City had THOUSANDS of Speakeasy s during the Prohibition.

        2. avatar 16V says:

          Please learn the history, not the propaganda. Alcohol flowed as readily as ever, just through illicit channels with all the blowback and societal destruction that entails.

          Prohibition. Never. Works. Ever.

          We have almost the exact same addiction rates as when you could get pharma-pure opiates and cocaine at your local druggist, or the Sears catalog. You can get whatever drugs you wish in ME and Eastern countries that execute drug dealers.

      2. avatar Akira says:

        Of COURSE alcohol prohibition worked. The “drys” got their law; the “wets” had their liquor. Everyone’s happy!


    2. avatar Ing says:

      Prohibition did have some beneficial effects — people drank less and still do to this day — but wasn’t really a success. Alcohol was not eradicated, nor was alcoholism. And it created a whole raft of unintended negative side effects.

      The operation was a success, but the patient died.

      1. avatar David B says:

        I wish you would study history better. Prohibition was a forced morality. A few benefitted through crime, but it was small potatoes compared to the societal good that it did.

        1. avatar 16V says:

          I wish you would study history better. Before Prohibition, there was very little money in organized crime, so it wasn’t very hard to manage it. Once the massive booze profits rolled in, there was almost no stopping them – they owned thousands of cops and hundreds of Judges, in Chicago alone.

          Same thing with drugs. The reality is people are gonna do what they’re gonna do. You can accept that, or you can create an illicit market with all the attendant ills that come with it. Why do you not see alcohol *actually* ruin many lives? Because it’s pure, cheap, and legal. We don’t lock up alkys for posession, nor their dealers. There’s no social stigma from getting your drunk self sober, nor (more importantly) legal issues. Eventually most folks pull it together, those who don’t will always find a means of Leaving Las Vegas.

    3. avatar Daily Beatings says:

      Violent Crime

      “The rise in organized crime associated with Prohibition also brought a significant increase in violent crime. Orchestrated by Capone, the infamous St. Valentine’s Day Massacre was one example of numerous murders committed by mobsters in their quest for territory to distribute illegal booze. Murder rates skyrocketed in all major U.S. cities. The pre-Prohibition murder rate of 5.6 per 100,000 nearly doubled to almost 10. Other major crimes increased as well. Overall violent crime such as murders, batteries, and assaults increased by 13 percent. Supporters of Prohibition had argued that the opposite would occur but the only category of crime that saw a decrease during Prohibition were with minor crimes such as swearing and vagrancy.

      During Prohibition, the number of people serving time in prisons increased dramatically. The federal inmate population increased 561 percent from the pre-Prohibition period. State prisons, such as New York’s Sing Sing prison, also saw a large increase, which placed an enormous financial burden on all levels of government. This new burden precipitated a need for more tax revenues, threatening the vibrant economy of the 1920s and limiting government options once the economy began to decline.”


      Now who’s exaggerating?

      1. avatar David B says:

        You believe everything you read on the Internet?

        1. avatar Daily Beatings says:

          At least I have a source and it’s the Texas Digital Library.

      2. avatar tdiinva says:

        Organized crime existed prior to prohibition. Gang wars between the established Irish mob and the insurgent Italian-Jewish mob began in the second decade of the Twentieth Century. If you check the murder stats the murder rate nearly tripled prior to Prohibition. All prohibition did was add an area of conflict. The murder rate peaked about the same time Arnold Rothstein, the Jewish mob boss who fixed the 1919 World Series, brokered a settlement that established the five New York crime families. The Mafia became a national crime cartel. The murder rate fell because the gangsters signed a peace treaty that increased their power. The mob was more powerful in the 1950s and 1960s then they were in the 1920s.

    4. avatar Ralph says:

      And let’s not forget that Al Capone’s partner, Joe Kennedy, increased his fortune fifty-fold. Which allowed him to buy the Presidency for his son, John. Good times.

      Yes, Prohibition was great. Let’s try it for drugs.

      1. avatar 16V says:

        It’s been a resounding success. At least for the cops, courts, and prison industrial complex who have suckled over a trillion from it…

  15. avatar Skyler says:

    Kind of turns that whole “inalienable” concept on its head.

  16. avatar Soccerchainsaw says:

    I say it may be better for no one to participate in polls. No matter the result, they always manage to spin things against us. Better for the results to be so far out as to be ridiculous. Like the “90% want universal background checks”. 90% of America can’t agree that the sky is frequently blue.

    1. avatar Ralph says:

      I think that the sky is usually an azure color. Except during winter in New England, when the sky is the color of lead.

      1. avatar Akira says:

        Here in Ohio, it seems to be more of a periwinkle most of the time.

  17. avatar Anonymoose says:

    Someone either here or on TFB said that the government should issue AR-10s to every citizen, and I support that as long as they don’t try to tell me how and when I can use it.

  18. avatar Yngvar says:

    This ruling have so many uses:

    If a ban on cartoon contests reduces the perceived risk from a mass shooting, and makes the public feel safer as a result, that’s a substantial benefit.

    Someones delighted.

    1. avatar Anon in CT says:

      Except that a direct assault on an enumerated Constitutional right is rarely accorded much deference.

      1. avatar Ralph says:

        Except when the enumerated Constitutional right is the right to keep and bear arms.

  19. avatar Daily Beatings says:

    The judges said this real infringement on self-defense was justified simply because the public likes it.

    Cause it’s not logic, but the feelz that is important. The public liked prop 8 in California, but low and behold it was ruled unconstitutional. I agree with the prop 8 ruling, but shouldn’t we have a little consistency when it comes to the abridgment of rights?

  20. avatar Ben says:

    Using force of goveremt to make people buy guns is just as bad as using force of goveremt to prevent people from buying guns

  21. avatar Glenn says:

    If the judges chose to ignore the law, then we will be
    Without The Rule of Law.

    And I am perfectly fine with that.

    I those stinking judges want to ignore the constitution

    I’ll just be a law unto myself.
    Then I can’t be considered an Outlaw.

  22. avatar Geoff PR says:

    “The best way to eliminate an unjust law is to fully enforce it.”

    We lack the leaders with the political testicular fortitude to do. just. *that*.


  23. avatar Brad says:


    If I have to pay taxes, I want them to lower the price of guns.

    1. avatar JR Pollock says:

      Better yet, how about a Gunz & Ammo SNAP Card?

  24. avatar foodog says:

    So, if disaffected youths in various urban slums can run amok, steal, riot, destroy private property and mayors and senators say its ok, get used to it- then why should law abiding citizens pay much attention to non-constitutional limits on gun types and magazine limits, and how and when we can carry outside the home to protect our family?

    Last time I read the Constitution it said I have a natural right to self-defense, but not to hair extenders.

  25. avatar Marcus (Aurelius) Payne says:

    “According to the judges, the city of Highland Park, Illinois passed an ordinance that is simply a regulation of the right to keep and bear arms in the home rather than an infringement on the right.”

    What the hell definition are they using for “infringe”?

  26. avatar John L. says:

    Mandatory gun ownership for non-felon households would make an excellent California initiative.

    The best part? If it passes the only way to overturn it is another initiative (or the courts)- the legislature can’t do it.

  27. avatar JohnF says:

    Oh, how I want to see Shannon Watts be required to buy a gun!

    I would jump on a plane, be at that store and help her pick it out!

  28. avatar Matt says:

    We just need to make it a tax not a penalty…

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