Report: Illinois Supreme Court rules Cook County’s gun and ammo tax is unconstitutional, violates 2A


SPRINGFIELD, IL- On Thursday, October 21st, the Illinois Supreme Court ruled 6-0 that Cook County’s tax on guns and ammunition violates the Second Amendment

In 2012, Cook County officials were pushing a “violence tax” on guns and ammunition to offset the cost of gun violence in Chicago.

In 2013, the Firearm Tax Ordinance was implemented and the Chicago Sun-Times noted that it “[imposed] a $25 tax on the purchase of a firearm from a retailer in Cook County.”

A separate county tax of “$0.05 per cartridge for centerfire ammunition, typically used for rifles, shotguns and handguns, and a $0.01 per cartridge for rimfire ammunition.”

The Illinois Supreme Court ruled against the taxes, remanding the case to the circuit court “for summary judgment in favor of the plaintiffs.”

Justice Mary Jane Theis wrote the majority opinion, which said, in part:

“This case involves a challenge to two tax ordinances imposed by Cook County on the retail purchase of firearms and firearm ammunition …

While the taxes do not directly burden a law-abiding citizen’s right to use a firearm for self-defense, they do directly burden a law-abiding citizen’s right to acquire a firearm and the necessary ammunition for self-defense.”

Theis also noted that although the taxes were ubiquitously enacted to raise money to fight gun violence, the funds from the taxes are not directed toward fighting gun violence. Theis wrote:

“Under the plain language of the ordinances, the revenue generated from the firearm tax is not directed to any fund or program specifically related to curbing the cost of gun violence.

Additionally, nothing in the ordinance indicates that the proceeds generated from the ammunition tax must be specifically directed to initiatives aimed at reducing gun violence.”

Theis concluded:

“In sum, for the forgoing reasons, we hold that to satisfy scrutiny under a uniformity challenge, where a tax classification directly bears on a fundamental right, the government must establish that the tax classification is substantially related to the object of legislation.”

The judge added:

“Under that level of scrutiny, the firearm and ammunition tax ordinances violate the uniformity clause. Accordingly, we reverse the summary judgment entered in favor of defendants and remand to the circuit court for entry of summary judgment in favor of plaintiffs.”

Justice Michael Burke agreed with the opinion, but issued a four-page special concurrence disagreeing with the majority’s analysis that the county’s spending plans affected whether the tax was permissible. Burke wrote:

“The majority’s analysis is problematic because it leaves space for a municipality to enact a future tax —singling out guns and ammunition sales — that is more narrowly tailored to the purpose of ameliorating gun violence.”

He argued the majority opinion is leading the county “down a road of futility,” citing Article 1, Section 22 of the state constitution, which reads: “Subject only to the police power, the right of the individual citizen to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” He added:

“The only problem with the majority’s approach — and the guidance it offers the county — is that such counsel, if followed, would still violate the provision of the Illinois Constitution noted above that plainly states that the right of the individual to keep and bear arms is subject only to the police power, not the power to tax.”

The case is Guns Safe Life, Inc., et al., Appellants, v. Zahra Ali, No. 126014 in the Illinois Supreme Court.

Editor note: In 2020, we saw a nationwide push to “defund the police”.  While we all stood here shaking our heads wondering if these people were serious… they cut billions of dollars in funding for police officers.  And as a result, crime has skyrocketed – all while the same politicians who said “you don’t need guns, the government will protect you” continued their attacks on both our police officers and our Second Amendment rights.

And that’s exactly why we’re launching this national crowdfunding campaign as part of our efforts to help “re-fund the police”.

For those looking for a quick link to get in the fight and support the cause, click here.

Do you want to join our private family of first responders and supporters?  Get unprecedented access to some of the most powerful stories that the media refuses to show you.  Proceeds get reinvested into having active, retired and wounded officers, their families and supporters tell more of these stories.  Click to check it out.

LET Unity

Over 1600 people shot from June 2021 to August 2021 in Mayor Lightfoot’s gun-controlled Chicago

October 4th, 2021

CHICAGO, IL- According to reports, more than 1,600 people were shot June 2021 through August 2021 in Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s gun-controlled Chicago. 

A total of 1,606 were shot with 261 of the shooting victims dying from the gunshot wounds. The number killed is eight fewer than the same period in 2020, but a marginal difference in a year on pace to be the deadliest in nearly a quarter century for Chicago.

The report from CNN noted that 770 people were killed in Chicago throughout all of 2020 and that the city is on track to well-surpass that number. Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown stated that the influx of firearms into the hands of soon to be trigger pullers is “ground zero for violence,” adding:

“It’s violent people in possession of weapons.”

John Lausch, U.S. Attorney for the North District of Illinois noted that one of the reasons for the shootings is that offenders do not fear consequences. Lausch said:

“People are emboldened, our violent offenders are, they’re not afraid of getting caught and they’re not afraid of the consequences of when they’re caught.”

CNN reported that according to the 2020 Uniform Crime Report released in late September by the Federal Bureau (FBI), 76 percent of homicides nationwide were committed with a firearm.

In Chicago, guns plan an even larger role — fatal shootings accounted for 90 percent of all homicides last year. So far this year, they make up 94 percent of Chicago’s homicides. 

The Chicago Police Department (CPD) stated that it is currently on pace to take over 12,000 guns off the streets this year, which would be a record for the department. Many of the guns used in these shootings are initially purchased as legal commerce before changing hands. Brown said:

“We want to interdict how it gets into the wrong hands and that leads us right to straw purchases. People who make blood money off of getting guns into the hands of felons, violent people, who couldn’t otherwise get that gun in their hands.”

The gun that killed Chicago Police Officer Ella French in August was reportedly initially bought in Indiana before being transferred to the eventual alleged shooter, who would go on to use it on French less than six months later. Lausch stated:

“We’re not seeing truckloads of guns, we’re not seeing 100, 200, 300 guns in a crate that are ending up in someone’s hands. Typically, what we see from straw purchasing is you know, one or two guns at a time. The ones we’re really interested in are, are they putting it to the hands of someone who they believe is going to commit a crime?”

He added:

“Somebody who they know is a gang member. Somebody who has a significant violent criminal history who is likely to use that gun to commit more acts of violence.”

According to the Department of Justice (DOJ), just six Indianapolis residents allegedly straw purchased or illegal dealt over 90 firearms since November 2020, more than 20 of which were recovered from various Chicago crime scenes, including the murder of a 6-year-old and an incident where a Chicago police officer was shot.

The DOJ reported that within a span of 25 days, one of those six allegedly purchased 31 firearms and then later sold all of them within three days of buying.

So far, six of those weapons have been recovered in the Chicago area, most recently from a mass shooting. Kristen de Tineo, Special Agent in Charge at ATF Chicago said in a statement:

“That’s one of the things that makes it so difficult to work these cases, is there are trafficking schemes out there that involve many parties or the guns do change hands legally a number of times before they are actually transferred to that person. The difficulty comes [in] identifying that point where that gun leaves legal commerce and goes into the illegal marketplace.” 

Do you want to join our private family of first responders and supporters?  Get unprecedented access to some of the most powerful stories that the media refuses to show you.  Proceeds get reinvested into having active, retired and wounded officers, their families and supporters tell more of these stories.  Click to check it out.

LET Unity

Little boy, 8, fatally shot in the head during gang-related drive-by shooting in gun-controlled Chicago

September 29th, 2021

MARKHAM, IL- According to authorities, on Monday, September 27th, an 8-year-old boy was fatally shot while playing on a porch in the city’s south suburbs.

Family members have identified the young boy as Demetrius Stevenson. Police stated that at least one man allegedly got out of a car and fired shots into the home, which is located in the 1500 block of Homan Avenue. The boy was struck in the head and died from his wounds. 

Community activist Andrew Holmes said in a statement:

“They shot and killed an 8-year-old that could not defend himself and probably did not even see it coming.”

Authorities said it is gang-related shooting and the boy’s 18-year-old brother was the intended target.

The older brother reportedly tried to save the 8-year-old’s life and carried him out to police. Police stated that the 18-year-old, who has not been named, is in custody on a separate warrant and is being questioned about the shooting.

The Daily Mail reported that Markham City coordinator Michael Taylor said Stevenson’s older brother is a well-known gang member. Taylor said:

“For some reason, a group of individuals made their way down to the address, coming from the city of Chicago, trying harm this … 18-year-old older brother. They see him and they started to shoot.”

Taylor added that authorities are trying to figure out the make and model of the vehicle the shooter was in.

Police reported went door-to-door, meticulously trying to find out anything about the vehicle or shooter. As of this writing, it remains unknown as to how many people were in the car when shots were fired.

Stevenson’s family told Legal Help Firm that Demetrius loved school and was in the third grade. Neighbor Ed Winston said:

“I’ve been here 33 years and never seen nothing like this.”

The shooting comes as crime skyrockets in the city. Shooting incidents in Chicago are up 10 percent since September 19th, with 2,596 incidents this year as compared to the 2,351 in the same period in 2020.

According to Fox News, in Chicago, 261 kids were shot, a larger total than the amount of kids who have died from COVID-19 across the United States this year, which is a total of 214. Over Labor Day weekend alone, 63 people were shot, including eight children.

When speaking to reporters earlier in the month of September, Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown had a message for criminal offenders, asking them:

“Why are you continuing to be around young people, our children? You’re harming this community. You’re harming these families and we will be relentless in pursuing you as an offender.”

According to CBS Chicago, over the weekend of September 24th-26th, at least nine people were killed in citywide shootings, including a female high school wrestling champ who was 18-years-old. There were a total of 67 shootings citywide. 

Melissa ‘Azul’ de la Garza was coming back from a day of shopping for Halloween costumes and had just finished a Facetime call with her sister when an unidentified man approached her car and shot her multiple times in the torso before fleeing. 

A spokesperson for the Chicago Police Department (CPD) stated that the motive for the shooting is unclear and investigators are actively searching for the suspect.

According to a newsletter from the school, Melissa was the only girl on the wrestling team at Solorio Academy High School and the second in the school’s history.

Do you want to join our private family of first responders and supporters?  Get unprecedented access to some of the most powerful stories that the media refuses to show you.  Proceeds get reinvested into having active, retired and wounded officers, their families and supporters tell more of these stories.  Click to check it out.

LET Unity

After 50+ shot and 9 killed in Chicago during weekend, mayor suddenly wants more money for cops

September 21st, 2021

CHICAGO, IL – The weekend spanning from the evening of September 17th through the 19th served as another weekend rife with violence in Chicago, as there were a reported over 50 shooting victims with nine people killed.

The news regarding the violent weekend also comes at a time where Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot unveiled her 2022 budget proposal, where Mayor Lightfoot is looking to spend additional funds on law enforcement in light of the concerning level of shootings in the city.

According to the Chicago Police Department, more than 50 individuals were shot, nine of them fatally, in 45 different shooting incidents between 6:00 p.m. on September 17th through 11:59 p.m. on September 19th.

A pair of double murders on the West and South sides, as well as numerous drive-by shootings, were among the occurrences, according to authorities.

A drive-by shooting in the 1900 block of South St. Louis Avenue shortly after midnight on September 18th resulted in two male victims being killed, aged 29 and 34. According to police, a suspect fired a shot from inside a red car before fleeing the area. Both victims were reportedly shot in the head and were pronounced deceased thereafter.

A 31-year-old male was discovered unresponsive in the 200 block of East 121 Place with a gunshot wound to his torso and buttocks less than an hour later, at 12:50 a.m. He was transported to Christ Hospital, where he was declared deceased a short time later.

Following an altercation with a lady in the 3100 block of West Arlington, a 21-year-old male was fatally shot at approximately 2:39 a.m. on September 18th. During the altercation, an unknown male approached the victim and shot him in the chest, arm, and hip several times.

Two other fatal shootings occurred slightly before 4:00 a.m. that same morning. One involved a 33-yearold man being fatally shot while standing next to his vehicle in the 800 block of North Orleans, where authorities say the assailant was inside of a blue SUV during the shooting.

The second around the same time occurred in the 100 block of West 57th Street, where a 27-year-old male tow truck driver was shot numerous times by an unknown assailant while he was trying to provide service.

At approximately 1:25 p.m. on September 19th, a 28-year-old man and a 33-year-old man were fatally shot while standing outside along the 11800 block of South Emerald Avenue. Police say that two unknown shooters approached the men and opened fire before fleeing – leaving both victims with multiple gunshot wounds, including to the head.

In a shooting in the 8300 block of South Vincennes Avenue, one male was killed, and three women were wounded. At approximately 11:35 p.m. on September 19th, all four were in a car when an unidentified passenger of a red van opened fire, killing the male driver.

The car then collided with a steel beam and came to a full halt under a railway bridge, according to police. Two of the women injured were reported as being in critical condition, whereas the third woman was cited as being in fair condition.

Following the weekend of violence, Mayor Lightfoot announced her $16 billion 2022 budget proposal on September 20th, which aims to increase police spending from $1.7 billion to $1.9 billion.

Addressing city leaders during the announcement of her budget proposal, Mayor Lightfoot stated the following regarding safety in the city of Chicago:

“I know that community safety and thriving communities are at the top of all of our minds wherever you live in Chicago.”

“Too often, when we talk about community violence, we forget the victims. We know of them, but they are more than crime statistics. The lives deeply impacted by the violence that once it comes to their doorstep, it lives on in some form forever.”

Aside from increasing police expenditure, the budget plan includes approximately $400 million for community safety, $45 million for violence intervention programs and community organizations, and $10 million for youth diversion programs and wellness programs for Chicago Police officers.

Do you want to join our private family of first responders and supporters?  Get unprecedented access to some of the most powerful stories that the media refuses to show you.  Proceeds get reinvested into having active, retired and wounded officers, their families and supporters tell more of these stories.  Click to check it out.

LET Unity

Chicago businesses being cited for mask violations as shootings and murders skyrocket in the city

(Originally published September 12th, 2021)

CHICAGO, IL – As shootings continue to plague the city of Chicago, city officials have been spending time on issuing dozens of fines to local businesses for failing to comply with the state’s indoor mask mandates.

Following the city’s reintroduction of an indoor mask mandate, Chicago’s Business Affairs and Consumer Protection department has performed over 100 investigations into various businesses suspected of running afoul, issuing 20 citations and 16 warnings between August 20th and the 29th. Said businesses impacted ranged from restaurants, grocery outlets and even nightclubs.

After removing the mask requirement for fully vaccinated persons in May, the Chicago Department of Public Health said in August that the city’s mask rule will be reinstated – whether someone is vaccinated or not – and the reinstatement applied in August even extends to toddlers wearing face coverings:

“All individuals aged 2 and over, regardless of their vaccination status, will be required to wear a mask as of Friday, August 20, while indoors in public settings.”

“Masks are required in all indoor public settings, including bars and restaurants, gyms, common areas of condos and multi-residential buildings, and private clubs.

Similar to previous mask mandates, masks can be removed at restaurants, bars and other eating/drinking establishments by patrons when they are actively eating and drinking.”

CDPH Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady says that this mask mandate “will only be temporary and we can bend the COVID curve,” adding that the current COVID case numbers are rising to alarming levels and measures need to be taken to address it:

“But with case counts now rising back to this level, the risk has increased for everyone, even those who are vaccinated. The time to act is now to prevent further spread.

Chicago residents who have not yet been vaccinated should get a vaccine as soon as possible—it will protect you and your loved ones from the risk of serious illness or even death.”

However, numerous shootings continue to occur in Chicago as the city clamps down on local businesses that fail to comply with mask mandates imposed by city officials.

Over the Labor Day weekend alone, at least 63 individuals were shot throughout the city, six of those victims being fatally shot.

ABC 7 reported that during the Labor Day weekend, as many as 8 of the gunshot victims were children, and one of those killed was a 4-year-old boy. Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown noted that the children being hurt and killed within the city stems mostly from gang violence:

“It’s always some other offender, gang member, criminal network, some beef, and they’re targeting some adult, and young people are nearby and they are shot as innocent bystanders.”

Reports indicate that Chicago has already seen more shootings and murders in 2021 than that of the entirety of 2019. When it comes to children being shot throughout the city in 2021, at least 280 children have been injured – and 35 have been killed by gunfire.

Do you want to join our private family of first responders and supporters?  Get unprecedented access to some of the most powerful stories that the media refuses to show you.  Proceeds get reinvested into having active, retired and wounded officers, their families and supporters tell more of these stories.  Click to check it out.

LET Unity

Police: 33-year-old man fatally shot while shielding daughter from gunfire in gun-controlled Chicago

(Originally published September 4th, 2021)

CHICAGO, IL- According to reports, 33-year-old Travell Miller’s last act before dying in an ambush on the West Side, was shielding his 7-year-old daughter from gunfire, possibly saving her life. 

On Thursday, September 2nd, Miller’s father, Joseph Gilmore, said in a statement:

“He was simply driving his daughter to school. He was talking to his mother [on the phone] as this guy runs up on the car. His mother hears the son say, ‘Dang man, what the (expletive).’ She hears commotion and then hears him say, ‘Mama, Mama, I’ve been shot.’”

According to authorities, Miller had been stopped in traffic around 7:30 a.m. on Wednesday, September 1st, in the 3000 block of West Chicago Avenue when the gunman got out of another car, walked up and opened fire. Miller was hit four times and taken to Mount Sinai Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Gilmore said that a doctor told him that the location of Miller’s wounds show he had bent over to protect his daughter. Gilmore added:

“She’s traumatized. She’s devastated that she watched her father get killed.”

Police have released photos of the suspected attacker and the car he was driving, which was a silver two-door Grand Prix with no plates. Gilmore said:

“I pray that God serves them the same dish they gave my son.”

Detectives are reportedly investigating if the shooting stemmed from road rage. Gilmore said that he and his family have no other idea why Miller would have been targeted, adding that he had no enemies and had just moved to the neighborhood five days earlier.

Miller’s identical twin brother, Lavell Miller said news of his brother’s death has left him feeling “hollow,” adding:

“He wasn’t part of any gang life, criminal life. He wasn’t a troubled man, didn’t have any enemies. He was a brother, a father, a son. He was a partner.”

The brother’s “did everything together,” including moved to Miami, Florida to pursue careers in bartending. Lavell said:

“I introduced him to bartending, but when we did it together, it was ten-times magnified. I have a lot of family, but he was my twin brother. It’s a special bond and it’s a special thing.”

Miller came up with the name, “Bar-twin-ders” to market themselves as a bartending duo. Lavell said:

“I thought that was the right amount of corny.”

Lavell said that COVID made the job impossible in Miami, so they both moved back to Chicago. Lavell added:

“We talked about picking up where we left off. It’s been a financial struggle because of the pandemic. We know finally saw a way to navigate some success through this. We had plans. I was looking forward to us being a team for a very long time.”

Gilmore said that Miller grew up with his family in Maywood and was a star wrestler at Proviso East High School. He studied graphic design and loved video games. Gilmore added:

“All he wanted to do was treat the world like the sandbox it is. He wanted to be the guy who was paid to test video games.”

Miller’s passions adapted as he grew into adulthood and had his first daughter when he was in college. She was given to adopted parents in Minnesota, but he stayed close with her and saw her every year. Lavell said:

“I just want people to know he was a good man. I don’t want him to be just another hashtag or photo on a T-shirt. I want people to know he was a real legacy and that was the most important thing to us – your life resume.”

Miller’s family is pleading for help in finding the suspect who killed their son. Gilmore said:

“That was my boy. That was my son. My first born and I want anybody that was out there to show us some love. You can’t say nobody saw that happened. It was 7:30 on two main streets.”

Police have asked anyone with information on the murder to call detectives or submit a tip anonymously to


Want to make sure you never miss a story from Law Enforcement Today?  With so much “stuff” happening in the world on social media, it’s easy for things to get lost.  

Make sure you click “following” and then click “see first” so you don’t miss a thing!  (See image below.)  Thanks for being a part of the LET family!
Facebook Follow First
Submit a Correction
Related Posts