The Illinois Supreme Court dismissed two novel lawsuits Thursday that had sought to hold the firearms industry responsible for the costs of gun violence in Chicago, ending a six-year legal battle that thrust Mayor Richard Daley into the national political debate over gun control, reports the Chicago Tribune. The court rejected arguments by Daley and the families of murder victims that the firearms industry creates a “public nuisance” by saturating the city and its suburbs with cheap guns that quickly find their way into the hands of gang members. City attorneys said they would not appeal.
In its unanimous decision, the court ruled that regulation of the manufacture, distribution and sale of firearms should be left to the state legislature. “Any change of this magnitude in the law affecting a highly regulated industry must be the work of the legislature, brought about by the political process, not the work of the courts,” according to the justices. In a strongly worded opinion concurring with the decision, several justices acknowledged that they were disturbed by evidence presented in the two cases that suggests the firearms industry “sought to increase their profits by pandering” to criminals.