My day job in the Land of Lincoln involves serving as Guns Save Life’s Executive Director. GSL has a reputation for aggressive advocacy of gun rights and defending your right to defend yourself. Following the US Supreme Court’s Bruen decision, we have already taken action to benefit Illinois gun owners and their right to own guns and defend themselves.
In 2019, Guns Save Life sued in state court to have the state’s FOID Act gun owner licensing requirement ruled unconstitutional. Since the Bruen decision, our legal team has filed for summary judgement in the case citing Justice Thomas’ decision in Bruen. Final briefs for that motion are due in November.
We’re also exploring, with our legal team, the potential for new litigation against some Illinois gun control measures, both local ordinances and state laws.
Not only that, but we’ve sent offers to a number of municipalities in Illinois. The offer? We spare them a lot of very expensive litigation that will strike down their local ordinances banning common semi-auto firearms and magazines if they voluntarily agree to end enforcing them, just as Los Angeles and more recently, a number of cities in Colorado have done. Bruen has changed the gun control landscape and it’s time these jurisdictions recognize reality.
The alternative, as outlined in our letters, is that we rub their noses in the humiliation of defeat in the courts on them. Fear of humiliation and tarring them with the reputation of expensive mismanagement and fecklessness can sometimes nudge some politicians to do the right thing. As Senator Everett Dirksen once said, “When I feel the heat, I see the light.”
We’re not foolish enough to think many of these cities and their respective anti-gun local political leaders will roll over and play nice. They’ll have to be dragged kicking and screaming. At the same time, we think there are still some more pragmatic pols who may still respect the rule of law and US Supreme Court decisions. With the carrot of giving them the option to avoid public humiliation and the considerable expense paying for our side’s lawyers if we sue and win in a civil rights action, we’re hopeful we may find a few takers.
At the same time, we’re sharing our letter and our project nationally, with the hopes that gun rights activists in other blue states can tailor their own similar offers to cities with ordinances banning popular self-defense firearms and the magazines that feed them.
From our point of view, a win is a win, whether it comes from voluntary compliance with the law or forced compliance with court orders. And if we can achieve even limited success without spending tens of thousands on lawyers, that’s another plus.
Here’s the first letter we mailed to the Village of Deerfield, the community that we sued not so long ago to block implementation of their new “assault weapon” and magazine ban. We won all the way up to the Illinois Supreme Court, where our earlier wins were pared down to a win on the magazine half of the suit. Our state’s high court ruled Deerfield could keep their new gun ban.
But that was then, and this is now…the time of Bruen.
Here is the text of GSL’s letter to Deerfield Mayor Daniel Shapiro.
Dear Mayor Shapiro (with a carbon copy to Chief Sliozis):
Greetings sir. I currently serve as the Executive Director of Guns Save Life, Inc. You may recall that we’re the people who sued to block your Village’s amendment of a firearms ordinance to ban common semi-auto firearms and the magazines that feed them. As you should know, we won on the magazines, and the Illinois Supreme Court ruled that you could keep your new local ban on the guns.
In light of the new Bruen decision from the US Supreme Court, I wanted to reach out and offer your city an opportunity to voluntarily end enforcement of said ordinance, just as the City of Los Angeles has done.
The upside to your village is that you can do so with minimal negative publicity and expense.
On the other hand, should you opt to steadfastly maintain the validity of your faulty ordinance, we’ll file another lawsuit. Given the Bruen precedent, we will win. After all, SCOTUS accepted another gun ban appeal, vacating the lower court decision and remanding it back to circuit court for reconsideration following the decision in Bruen.
If you think that your legal team over at Perkins and Coie will prevail in a fresh lawsuit and bail you out on this, I’d direct your attention to Superior, CO where an Obama-appointed federal judge just enjoined that city’s gun and magazine ban, citing Bruen.
Not only will we exploit the filing of a lawsuit for publicity purposes, but we’ll exploit your inevitable loss in court for another round of rubbing your nose in the humiliation of defeat. Each time your village appeals and loses, we’ll continue with another round of the humiliation tour. As an added bonus, we’ll likely receive reimbursement from the Village of Deerfield for our legal costs as the prevailing party in a civil rights action.
You wrote on your webpage at the Village of Deerfield website, “Mean what you say, and say what you mean.” I live by that expression myself, along with walking the walk in addition to talking the talk.
Again, should you wish to avoid negative publicity and expense, please carbon copy me with a directive from your corporate counsel or police chief instructing your village police officers to cease enforcement of your unconstitutional city ordinance banning ownership, possession or use of America’s favorite rifle, the AR-15, and other semi-automatic firearms.
The alternative is that we file another court action and let the real fun begin.
We also sent a letter to the City of Aurora. Their mayor, Richard Irvin, spent millions campaigning for the Republican nomination for Governor. Irvin claimed to be pro-gun in the race. His running mate, downstate conservative Avery Bourne was asked at a campaign event if Irvin was really pro-gun. I’m told her eyes lit up and she cheerfully said, “Of course! Why he’s even applied for a FOID card.”
So to personalize Irvin’s letter for Aurora, I included this paragraph:
I know you campaigned as pro-gun in your recent campaign for the Republican nomination for Governor, so this should be an easy ask.
It’s odd how Mayor Irvin hasn’t gotten back to us letting us know he’s ordered his police department to suspend enforcement of his city’s gun and magazine bans in compliance with the law.
Time will tell which city gets served with paperwork challenging their local gun and magazine ban. Stay tuned.