BELLEVUE, WA â€“ After denouncing the demagoguery of Rev. Jesse Jackson in his continued protests at a suburban Chicago-area gun shop, the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms today announced that it has drafted federal legislation that would prevent such protests from interfering with legal businesses.
â€œThis is not an attack on the First Amendment rights of Jesse Jackson or anyone else,â€ said CCRKBA Chairman Alan Gottlieb. â€œBut it would put an end to the kind of publicity-seeking shenanigans that Jackson and his cohort, anti-gun Catholic priest Michael Pfleger, have been conducting at Chuckâ€™s Gun Shop in suburban Riverdale for the past three weeks. Weâ€™re working on Capitol Hill right now to gather sponsors.
â€œNobody is saying Jackson canâ€™t protest a gun shop,â€ Gottlieb added. â€œWe are, however, seeking the same protection from interference that is now guaranteed by federal statute to reproductive health services facilities.â€
Added CCRKBA Public Affairs Director John Snyder, â€œIt is against the law for anti-abortion activists to block access to these clinics, and it should be just as illegal for anti-gunners to block access to gun shops. This is neither a First or Second Amendment issue but rather a Fourteenth Amendment issue relating to equal protection.â€
Jackson and Pfleger have been demonstrating at or near Chuckâ€™s Gun Shop for the past few weeks. Last Saturday, both men were arrested by Riverdale police after their activities created access problems for Chuckâ€™s customers.
Under CCRKBAâ€™s proposal, anyone who uses force, a threat of force, or physical obstruction, or intimidates or intentionally injures another person who is attempting to enter a gun shop, or who operates such a store, would be criminally liable. Three weeks ago, Pfleger caused considerable alarm by telling a crowd that he would find gun shop owner John Riggio and â€œsnuff him out.â€
â€œThis proposal would provide protection to law-abiding firearms retailers and their customers nationwide,â€ Gottlieb stated. â€œChuckâ€™s is a legal business, operating under state and federal statutes. Jackson and his followers donâ€™t have to like it or agree with it, but under this proposal, they will have to accept the fact that a firearms dealer has as much right to operate a business as they have to shoot off their mouths. They have no right at all to prevent public access to a gun shop, or to intimidate or otherwise discourage customers from entering.â€