An anti-violence coalition including activist priest Father Pfleger has taken the unusual step to file a lawsuit against three Chicago suburbs for weak gun store oversight, that they claim is a main source of guns ending up in Chicago crime scenes.
“These three villages are not taking the minimal steps that they need to to stop the flow of guns into Chicago,” Michael Persoon, attorney, said.
“I’m here this morning as part of this lawsuit, because I’m tired of seeing the bloodbath taking place in our city’s streets. We all understand the realities,” Father Pfleger said. “Riverdale, Lyons, and Lincolnwood; you have failed to enforce best practices on your own. We pray that this lawsuit will now force your hand, because it’s time to shut off the gun flow onto the streets of Chicago.”
The lawsuit makes the claim that African American communities in Chicago are facing disproportionate hardship and therefore are having their civil rights violated under the Illinois Civil Rights Act. This civil rights violation is occurring, the suit claims, because Riverdale, Lyons and Lincolnwood do not have enough oversight when it comes to licensing and regulating gun shops that has allowed criminals to easily keep the flow of guns streaming onto the Chicago’s gang riddled streets.
“Those illegal firearms are flowing into a pocket of communities violating the civil rights of the individuals who reside there, who are afraid to go near their windows or let their children play in the park, much less their own yards,” said Kathleen Sances, a member of the Coalition for Safe Chicago Communities, one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit.
The daring lawsuit joins two ministers, two mothers whose children were the victims of gun violence, and the Coalition for Safe Chicago Communities activist group. The group claims basis for the suit from a Chicago Police Department study that showed that between 2009 and 2013, guns sold in the stores in Riverdale and Lyons were used in 20 percent of Chicago’s violent crimes leading to 3,000 guns being recovered at these Chicago crime scenes.
One of the plaintiffs is Annette Nance-Holt a mother whose son Blair was killed in 2007 on a Chicago bus while he was attempting to protect a friend when a gang member boarded the bus and started firing.
“Our communities are being flooded with guns,” she said. “We have to do something… to take a stand to help get these guns off the street.”