The U.S. Supreme Court has heard oral arguments in the McDonald case re: Chicago’s city-wide handgun ban. The Supreme’s forthcoming ruling is not a slam dunk for fans of the ban’s removal, but it seems like an easy lay-up—especially after the highest court in the nation struck down similar restrictions in the nation’s capitol. chicagobusiness.com reports that Windy City gun store owners are expecting the best and preparing for it too. “Nixing the city’s ban’s going to open up business to thousands and thousands of households, and that could mean thousands and thousands in sales,” says Fred Lutger, proprietor of Freddie Bear Sports. Not to mention re-energizing John Lott and his band of statisticians, who will chart the strange ch-ch-ch-changes to Chi-town’s crime rate. Of course, the ban’s removal will not change the way the city government does business, and anyone familiar with the Daley regime knows they know a hundred different ways to crack a walnut. Or block gun sales . . .
While suburban gun retailers are bolstering their arsenals, few are considering opening up shop within city limits if the ban falls. They figure Mayor Richard M. Daley and the City Council will place other hurdles in the way of gun store expansion, either through zoning restrictions, permitting or other legal means.
“The city could put up huge amounts of additional roadblocks,” says Jim Dion, president of Chicago-based retail consultancy Dionco Inc. “It’s not going to be one of those things where the Supreme Court decision comes and you see 150 stores overnight.”
So that would work in favor of existing gun stores, no? Yes. But if you think about it, restricting the size of the distribution system also works for the gun control folks. A large influx of customers trying to use a constricted sales funnel will tax any one store’s ability to cope with the paperwork and provide adequate supply (bullets, guns, holsters, etc.). Customers might purchase inappropriate weapons. The situation (not The Situation) will certainly lead to rising prices, which would keep lower income buyers off the market; the same people who “need” guns the most to protect themselves.
It could also see Chicago flooded with gun show sales. It could also increase the number of illegal weapons sold, as otherwise law-abiding citizens decide to “take a chance” on an [inexpensive] illegal gun, knowing that the police will not be able to punish them as harshly. Not that the Daley machine didn’t see that one coming.
Mr. Daley is trying to get ahead of the ruling by backing several proposals on the state and federal level, including increasing the penalty for unlawful use of a weapon.
From the retailers’ perspective, “so much depends on how wide or how narrow the court’s decision is,” says Keven Wilder, owner of Chicago-based retail consultancy Wilder Inc. “If it is a sweeping decision against allowing Mayor Daley and other cities to impose reasonable limitation on gun ownership, then who knows what’s going to happen? Sales could go through the roof.”