November 15, 2023
The firearms industry has been using advertising to galvanize “individuals to engage in unlawful paramilitary or private militia activity” and “who are not in the National Guard, United States armed forces reserves, United States armed forces … to use a firearm-related product for a military-related purpose…” So says Illinois Public Act 103-0559, duly enacted by the legislature and signed into law by Gov. Jay Pritzker to amend the Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act. And the “gun lobby” has been roping in “persons under 18 years of age to unlawfully purchase or possess or use a firearm-related product,” even resorting to using “caricatures that reasonably appear to be minors or cartoon characters… offer[ing] brand name merchandise for minors, including, but not limited to, clothing, toys, games, or stuffed animals, that promotes a firearm industry member or firearm-related product … in sizes, colors, or designs that are specifically designed to be used by, or appeal to, minors”!
They say all that like they’re serious, like their absurd allegations are evidence-based, like even if it was, they’d have a Constitutional leg to stand on, and like it will have any impact at all on the unchecked carnage occurring overwhelmingly in “gun-free zones” and in Democrat strongholds, where guns are procured by criminals the “old-fashioned way.”
Per a 2019 Bureau of Justice Statistics’ survey: “An estimated 287,400 prisoners had possessed a firearm during their offense. Among these, more than half (56%) had either stolen it (6%), found it at the scene of the crime (7%), or obtained it off the street or from the underground market (43%). Most of the remainder (25%) had obtained it from a family member or friend, or as a gift. Seven percent had purchased it under their own name from a licensed firearm dealer.”
There’s no “commonsense gun safety law” excuse that holds water here. This is just another in-your-face demonstration of power by a violence monopoly that will brook no dissent from upstarts, beginning with citizens who believe unbendingly that the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed, and who take seriously “the supreme Law of the Land’s” acknowledgment of what is “necessary to the security of a free State.” While the Illinois Constitution recognizes the Militia consists of “all able-bodied persons residing in the State except those exempted by law,” officials there (and not just there) have been derelict, deliberately indifferent, and openly hostile to “organization, equipment and discipline of the militia in conformity with the laws governing the armed forces of the United States.” They’ve intentionally ensured those “able-bodied persons” have remained untrained and unequipped for being called forth. And we’ve seen how the unprepared have fared in Ukraine and Israel. Any citizens taking it upon themselves to make up for that deliberate oversight and prepare for collectively defending their homes and communities will be treated as an insurrectionist threat.
As for the ban on influencing minors, remember that this is coming from a billionaire governor encouraging 16-year-olds to register to vote online (with lowering the voting age a Democrat priority) who “has directly funded ‘gender reassignment’ of children – meaning they have engaged in experimental surgery to greatly alter the sex organs of children...” There was a time before school shootings and urban “drive-bys” when toy guns and commercials for them were ubiquitous in the lives of American children, and older ones were enthralled by ads for Daisy BB guns and .22 rifles, replete with cartoon characters like “Blooey,” the “gun safety watchdog” from NRA, offering life-protecting safety tips. Fast forward a few decades and the gun-hating Violence Policy Center was disparaging the “Eddie Eagle” safety program (“Stop. Don’t touch. Leave the area. Tell an adult”) as “Joe Camel with Feathers.”
“NSSF®, The Firearm Industry Trade Association, filed a legal challenge to Illinois’ unconstitutional law that seeks to muzzle firearm manufacturers’ and retailers’ First Amendment right of free commercial speech and to regulate industry members’ commercial conduct in every state of the Union,” the National Shooting Sports Foundation announced upon the bills enactment. “The flawed logic of this unconstitutional law is second only to the contempt for which the authors and Governor Pritzker hold for the Constitutionally protected right of the citizens of his state to keep and bear arms… We are confident that this unconstitutional law will not survive.”
It's true: It affects more than Illinois. Case in point, this magazine not only has ads that could run afoul of the edict, its articles and product reviews could also require disclaimers or exclusions, affecting the rights of the publisher and of readers everywhere. Either that or cease circulation there, including by subscription, which the gun banners wouldn’t mind. NSSF’s confidence the law will not survive should be bolstered by the outcome of a lawsuit against a similar California edict.
“[T]he State of California may not attempt to reduce the demand for lawful conduct by suppressing speech favoring that conduct while permitting speech in opposition. That is textbook viewpoint discrimination,” Lawrence VanDyke, Circuit Judge for the Ninth Circuit, wrote in his concurring opinion. A unanimous panel decision in Junior Sports Magazines Inc. v. Bonta struck down the law prohibiting “advertising firearm-related products ‘in a manner that is designed, intended, or reasonably appears to be attractive to minors.’”
What’s clear from both the Illinois and the California cases, is prohibitionist Democrats, thwarted by the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, will leave no right unabridged in their totalitarian obsession with controlling everything. And just as with their nose-thumbing of the Supreme Court’s Bruen decision with various gun and magazine bans and other infringements, they have a virtually unlimited reservoir of tax plunder from which to fill their legal war chests and drag things on for years while those fighting back depend on overburdened grassroots. If the Republicans don’t win big in ’24, and if Democrats retain the majority power to make judicial appointments, gun owners ain’t seen nothin’ yet.
If you have any thoughts or comments on this article, we’d love to hear them. Email us at FirearmsNews@Outdoorsg.com.