The Cook County Board of Commissioners has a proposed ordinance before it for consideration, one which will attempt to restrict the 2nd Amendment rights of all law-abiding citizens in Cook County. Cook County Commissioner Richard Boykin of Chicago has proposed an ordinance which calls for the “prohibitions on the sale of firearm to, and purchase of firearm by, a person not covered by appropriate liability insurance.” What this means is that Cook County residents would not be able to purchase and own a firearm without first acquiring firearm liability insurance.
Now some people may look at this and say, “This doesn’t sound too bad” until you analyze the actual consequences of this proposal. The sponsor and others would like to compare firearm liability insurance to having car insurance, which is like comparing apples to oranges. A right granted by the 2nd Amendment allows United States citizens to possess and own a firearm, period. Driving a motor vehicle is a privilege granted by State law, not a right covered under the United States Constitution.
The intention of the ordinance’s sponsor is to have a major impact on gun violence. An admirable thought, however if you are intellectually honest you must ask yourself; how will this ordinance have any impact on gun-wielding criminals? The honest answer is it won’t. It’s a patently false and purely emotional notion to think that violent criminals who are already breaking the law will stop and contemplate the purchase of firearm liability insurance before committing their next crime with a gun. Moreover, nearly all insurance policy coverage excludes criminal acts from their insurance coverage obligation. So the liability insurance would serve no purpose in addressing gun violence.
Along with this proposed ordinance come many unintended consequences. Requiring firearm liability insurance will have a negative financial impact on law-abiding citizens; specifically those who live in the higher crime zones will pay a more costly premium than the citizens living in low crime zones. Disarming law-abiding citizens or setting them up to break the law are very real consequences.
In addition, if this questionable ordinance were to be passed, litigation would certainly follow in opposition to its constitutionality, the consequence yet again, a very long and costly legal defense for the Cook County taxpayers to bear! There is a reason why this type of legislation has failed nearly everywhere it has been introduced across the country.
This proposed ordinance will not address violent criminal behavior as its intended, but will instead restrict the constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens. In my opinion, this is another unconstitutional overreach by government which I strongly oppose.
We need to focus our efforts on real preventative measures, those that are truly substantive in nature and that will deter individuals away from crime. We can do so by beginning to promote strong family structure, by supporting the concept of the community members turning in those known criminals who murder our children and murder our neighbors and through increasing educational and employment opportunities. Preventing criminal behavior must be the driving force to addressing violent crime, rather than ineffective legislation place upon the citizen taxpayer without regard to consequence.
Sean M. Morrison
Cook County Commissioner