Lawsuit Seeks To Hold Illinois Accountable For Gun-Related Trauma In Kids

The courts have generally ruled that the police have no duty to protect you as an individual. Their mandate is to protect society as a whole, rather than individuals. As difficult as that might be for many to accept, it also makes a lot of sense. If it were any other way, the state could be held responsible for everyone they didn’t protect, even if there was no way for the police to do so.

And, let’s be honest, that’s the case the vast majority of the time.

However, a lawsuit against the state of Illinois seeks to hold the state responsible for the gun-related trauma in a number of children.

After living through the shooting deaths of several people in his life, including his father, whose bullet-ridden body he saw firsthand at 5, the boy went from being bright and amenable to aggressive and reclusive, his mother said in a class-action lawsuit filed against the state of Illinois on behalf of her son and hundreds of other children.

In the suit, she argues that stress from the unceasing gun violence in the Austin neighborhood where she and her son live caused a “trauma-related disability” that has impaired his cognitive and emotional function and said that the state has an obligation not only to address but rectify it under federal and state law.

The legal complaint, which was filed in 2018 but was given the green light to proceed by a federal judge in September, poses a novel and potentially game-changing argument that, if successful, could set a groundbreaking model for other cities that are tackling concentrated gun violence, legal experts say.

It argues that children living in Chicago’s most gun-ravaged neighborhoods suffer disabilities as a result of the violence and that Illinois is violating both the federal Americans With Disabilities Act and state civil rights laws by not tightening regulations on the flow of the illegal weapons that are contributing to the carnage.

Now, let’s keep in mind that Illinois is one of the most anti-gun states in the country.

Honestly, if you can accuse the state of anything, it’s not in being too pro-gun. That’s an argument that breeds absolute hilarity to anyone familiar with gun laws across the nation.

Now, are they responsible for the violence plaguing Chicago? Potentially, but not in the way the plaintiffs are arguing.

You see, Illinois is politically dominated by Chicago, which has turned the state vehemently anti-gun. They’ve put plenty of barriers up that bar law-abiding but economically-disadvantaged individuals from owning guns. The Firearm Owners Identification Card is just one legal hurdle people have to jump through that adds cost to firearms that poor Chicagoans are unlikely to be able to afford over and above the cost of a firearm. Those aren’t cheap either.

So, as a result, they don’t have the means to defend themselves. This can empower criminals to act with impunity. After all, who is going to stop them?

But that’s not what the suit alleges.

I’m not really sure what they want from the state, though. The courts can’t really mandate laws be changed, for one thing. For another, the Americans With Disabilities Act requires “reasonable accommodations” to be made for people with disabilities. I don’t recall anywhere that it requires states to curtail the civil liberties of people by further violating the Second Amendment because some people are traumatized by the acts of individuals.

This case is going to be interesting to follow, that’s for sure. I also figure it’ll end up before the Supreme Court when everything is said and done.