Lawson v. Chicago – Mayhem Denied!
August 2, 2011 in Chicago
[I'm skipping ahead a few chapters in order to chronicle today's events.]
Mayhem didn’t happen today and I’ll explain why.
Pursuant to Cook County Judge Patrick Roger’s order, I was permitted to bring my four SKS rifles down to the Chicago Administrative Hearings office (400 W Superior Street) to admit them into evidence along with my own expert witness (big thanks goes out to Andre Queen of Fidelity Investigative Training Academy) and, most importantly, my lawyer (Joel Brodsky), who represented me at the Cook County Court appeal.
Around 11am, I picked up my four SKS rifles where I had them stored (Article II Gun World), where they have been safely stored in order to protect Chicago from the threat of mayhem apparently imminent if they are introduced inside Chicago city limits. Lombard, the home of Article II Gun World, was saved from the SKS mayhem by the state-of-the-art kryptonite lining of the range’s storage facilities, no doubt.
From there, Colleen and I drove the dreaded rifles downtown to pick up our legal team and we all proceeded to the Chicago Administrative Hearing office at 400 W. Superior. No mayhem occurred on the way.
We were met at the front by a capable and affable CPD officer who escorted us into the building and inspected the rifles to ensure they were unloaded and no ammunition was present. More mayhem averted.
Chicago strenuously and repeatedly objected to the presence of the four SKS rifles at the beginning and throughout the hearing, prompting the hearing officer (a suburban lawyer under contract to act as ‘judge’ for hearings between the City and her residents—no conflict there!) to lament that they were placing him in the uncomfortable position of ignoring the written order of a Cook County Circuit judge. Chicago tried to argue that the order didn’t specifically mention examining the rifles. I guess they felt that Judge Rogers wanted the rifles brought in, but hidden lest they induce mayhem. The hearing officer overruled Chicago’s objections.
Chicago called a CPD Sergeant who had previously been in charge of the Chicago Gun Registration Unit and assisted in drafting the “Responsible Gun Ownership Ordinance” and who oversaw the unit for the first 3 months of the new ordinance. He testified that the SKS rifles were unregisterable because they can be modified to accept detachable magazines. The Sergeant refused to touch the rifles to demonstrate how they accept said magazines on redirect.
Chicago then called a CPD Officer who works in the same unit and who testified in my previous hearing. He was the officer tasked with researching these particular guns and issuing the denial of registration. Chicago was armed with internet printouts of SKS rifles of the same model as mine being offered for sale. They also presented an internet printout of an online parts seller that shows an exploded view of the SKS and lists parts for sale. They also sell detachable magazines that can be purchased for use in SKS rifles. Finally, the last internet printout showed SKS Drum magazines. Mayhem was a-knockin’!
During cross examination, attorney Joel Brodsky queried the CPD Officer as to whether “grandpa’s double-barreled shotgun” with barrel length over 18 inches is registerable. Answer: Yes. He then asked couldn’t someone spend 2 minutes with a hacksaw and cut down the barrel such that the firearm was unregisterable? Answer: Yes. This established that registerable firearms can be modifed to be unregisterable. He also pointed out that the Chicago ordinance contemplates that activity and states that should a registered firearm be modified to a firearm that would be unregisterable, it would then become unregistered.
He then asked if there were currently firearms registered that could become unregisterable. Answer: Yes. This was the lead-up to specific questions regarding my Ruger 10/22, that is currently registered. The officer had to admit that I could replace the stock and modify the 10/22 to become unregisterable.
This officer as well refused to touch the firearms at my lawyer’s request for a demonstration. There was quite an amusing circular argument that has to be read to be believed. I hope to have transcripts and/or audio when available.
My lawyer first called our expert witness, Andre Queen. He effectively rebutted the testimony of the CPD officers, demonstrating the function of the rifles, their history, and what is required to convert them to accept detachable magazines. On cross, Chicago asked Mr. Queen if he was being paid to testify. Answer: No. They then asked “so you are doing this out of the kindness of your heart?” Answer: As a matter of fact, yes. Priceless!
On close, Chicago tried to characterize this issue as not being about my specific rifles, or myself, and they were forced to admit that I might not be a terrible person. I was gratified. They then argued that this issue is about the protection of Chicago from the increased threat of mayhem proposed by the lawful registration of SKS rifles. Mayhem’s a-go-go now!
Three hours later, the hearing was over, and the hearing officer promised his ruling by Friday (August 5th). After dropping my legal team back at their office, and my wife back at home, I transported the dread SKS rifles back outside Chicago city limits, thankfully before any mayhem could happen.
I have no explanation for how I managed to resist the urge to commit mayhem with my SKS rifles. Perhaps I might be recommended for a Civilian Commendation.