Three lonely protestors stood outside Five Star Firearms in Zion, Il., last Saturday, holding “Renounce violence, Reject guns” signs and blaming the firearm industry for crimes committed with guns in the United States.
The Chicago Tribune was the only major news outlet to cover what may have been the world’s smallest protest. The tenth largest newspaper in the country didn’t offer any justification for highlighting an anti-gun group that has less than 600 Facebook likes, but it did give the protest organizer a chance to explain why he “opposes guns in the hands of citizens.”
“Too many people are being shot and killed, and the gun industry is making millions,” said Lee Goodman, founder of Peaceful Communities. “We need to speak up and say the industry should be held accountable.”
Another protestor, Chester Kulis, joined Peaceful Communities because his brother was shot to death during a robbery in Chicago in 1972. “When I was in school they used to teach us to hide under the desk in case a bomb hit,” he said. “Now they’re teaching children to hide in classroom closets from people with guns. Where are we headed with this senseless violence?”
Kulis doesn’t seem to realize that Chicago has passed the kind of gun restrictions he and Goodman are pursuing and that they haven’t done anything to reduce crime. Despite years and years of handgun bans and ammunition restrictions, Chicago still has one of the worst crime rates in the country.
To be fair, the Tribune article did allow employees and customers of Five Star Firearms to defend their constitutional right to keep and bear arms.
“A gun is a tool,” said Wadsworth, Il., resident Albert Clark. “The person using the tool should be held accountable for what they do with it.”
Another employee, Clinton Hartford, stressed gun owners’ responsibility to secure their firearms and noted that Americans can’t “pass the buck” to gun retailers.
“We do everything by the book here and follow the law,” he said. “If someone is irresponsible outside of that, they should be punished accordingly. If you plow into someone with your car, should the car industry be blamed for that?”
Goodman didn’t have a good response to either gun owner—at least, if he did the Tribune article didn’t include it. The article ends by restating Goodman’s belief that the gun industry should be “held responsible” and reports Goodman’s intention to continue his protests throughout the summer.
Peaceful Communities is doubtless trying to capitalize on Judge Barbara Bellis’s recent decision to allow a lawsuit to go forward against Remington Arms. The suit, which is being brought by families of the victims of the Newton shooting, holds that gun makers should be held liable for crimes committed by a third party.
Goodman’s group is yet another attempt by the anti-gun community to blame legal businesses for the tragic decisions of criminals wielding guns. Anti-gunners haven’t been able to get their policies through Congress, so they’re seeking to bring down the gun industry in the marketplace. With liberal judges as their allies, these groups are looking to circumvent the American people and push their agenda any way they can.