A little-known problem facing gun rights organizations is that the municipalities they sue often get free legal assistance that enables cities and towns to attack the gun rights of their citizens while rights groups lining up to fight have to pay their attorneys, throwing the cost of justice, if not the balance, in favor of anti-gunners.
That’s the argument from the Second Amendment Foundation in the wake of another small court victory in Illinois. SAF and the Illinois State Rifle Association, along with Deerfield Village resident Daniel Easterday, won a temporary order from a Lake County Circuit Court judge Tuesday in the community’s attempt to ban so-called “assault weapons.”
SAF and ISRA sued a couple of days after the ordinance was adopted. A second lawsuit, filed by Guns Save Life and Deerfield resident John William Wombacher III, with support from the National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action, followed days later.
But the Chicago Tribune noted early in the case that Deerfield was getting free legal help from Jonathan Lowy of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence and Chris Wilson of the Chicago office of Perkins Coie LLP.
This is not the first time such an arrangement has been made between anti-gun city governments and anti-gun legal groups.
“It is distressing that law-abiding firearms owners are forced to finance expensive legal actions against communities like Deerfield when these municipalities get free legal help to essentially litigate against the rights of those very citizens,” said SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb.
Even when governments don’t get free legal help, they have the advantage of big bank accounts, thanks to tax revenues from private citizens whose rights they attempt to regulate.
Still, a jubilant Gottlieb noted in a news release Wednesday, “pro-bono legal help from an outside law firm and anti-gun groups is no match for” SAF’s legal team. In the Deerfield case, that legal expertise came from Glen Ellyn attorney David Sigale, a veteran of several SAF legal actions.
On other cases, SAF has worked with Alan Gura, the attorney who won both the 2008 Heller and 2010 McDonald Second Amendment cases before the Supreme Court.
“The high cost of such lawsuits,” Gottlieb said, “is why gun owners feel it is imperative to donate to SAF, and we thank every single one of them for their continued support. Only by raising money to fund these legal battles can we continue winning back firearms freedom, one lawsuit at a time.”