WHEREAS, Gun violence is an ever present problem in the State, as well as nationwide; an example of which is 8 persons dying in Chicago in one week in October due to gun violence; and . . .
WHEREAS, In the past few years, court rulings, including the United States Supreme Court in District of Columbia V. Heller, in interpreting the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution have overturned long standing precedent, which had supported state and local authority to deny gun possession when necessary to promote and protect public safety; in order to reach its decision, the 5 member majority of the United States Supreme Court either ignored or misinterpreted much of the clear and plain wording of the Second Amendment; and
WHEREAS, As stated by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stevens in his well-thought out dissent on behalf of 4 Justices in Heller: “The Second Amendment was adopted to protect the right of the people of each of the several States to maintain a well-regulated militia. It was a response to concerns raised during ratification of the Constitution that the power of Congress to disarm the state militias and create a national standing army posed an intolerable threat to the sovereignty of the several States.
Neither the text of the Amendment nor the arguments advanced by its proponents evidenced the slightest interest in limiting any legislature’s authority to regulate private civilian uses of firearms. Specifically, there is no indication that the Framers of the Amendment intended to enshrine the common-law right of self-defense in the Constitution.”; rather the Second Amendment’s original purpose was to act as a check on federal gun-making policy, not to prevent individual states from creating gun policy as they saw fit; and
WHEREAS, The legal view of the Second Amendment as a collective, militia right, and not an individual right, held for over 200 years until the Heller decision in 2008, which invalidated a law barring individuals from possessing a handgun not registered before the law took effect and annual registrations for the remaining handguns; and
WHEREAS, The Heller decision and other pro-firearm industry court rulings have resulted in a proliferation of guns in numerous communities and have diminished the security and freedom of our citizens to enjoy a life free of gun violence; living with the fear of gun violence is contrary to living in a free society; high levels of gun violence are a threat to the security of whole communities; and
WHEREAS, The cost of gun violence has been pushed onto everyone except the people and companies that produce and sell firearms; the firearms industry benefits financially when more guns are sold; more firearms in circulation leads to more gun crimes, homicides, and suicides to the extent that gun-related deaths will soon exceed the number of deaths in automotive crashes; but the Heller decision effectively said that most of the Second Amendment should be disregarded in favor of the part that is most profitable to the firearms industry, “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed”; and
WHEREAS, Throughout the history of the United States, federal and state laws have regularly placed restrictions on who can legally own, possess, and use firearms; even prior to the ratification of the U.S. Constitution, gun control laws were enacted; therefore laws restricting gun access are not anomalous to American law; and
WHEREAS, Before these court decisions, state legislatures had been able to pass laws restricting gun access if it was in the best interests of public safety; therefore, be it
RESOLVED, BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE NINETY-NINTH GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, that we urge the courts, especially the United States Supreme Court, to restore interpretation of the Second Amendment as a right afforded to state-sponsored militias that as Justice Stevens stated in his Heller dissent, ” … it does not curtail the Legislature’s power to regulate the non-military use and ownership of weapons … “.