A mayor in Illinois has stirred controversy by signing an overzealous coronavirus-related executive order that grants her powers way beyond the scope of the current crisis, including the power to ban the purchase of firearms and ammunition.
Signed on Friday by Champaign Mayor Deborah Frank Feinen, the order includes a slew of disturbing provisions that allow her to …
- “Order the closing of all retail liquor stores, including taverns and private clubs or portions thereof wherein the consumption of intoxicating liquor and beer is permitted.”
- “Order the discontinuance of the sale of alcoholic liquor by any wholesaler or retailer.”
- “Order the discontinuance of selling, distributing, or giving away gasoline or other liquid flammable or combustible products in any container other than a gasoline tank properly affixed to a motor vehicle.”
- “Order the discontinuance of selling, distributing, dispensing or giving away of explosives or explosive agents, firearms or ammunition of any character whatsoever.”
- “Order City employees or agents, on behalf of the City, to take possession of any real or personal property of any person, or to acquire full title or such lesser interest as may be necessary to deal with a disaster or emergency, and to take possession of and for a limited time, occupy and use any real estate to accomplish alleviation of the disaster, or the effects thereof.”
While the EO contains 30 such provisions, the latter two have drawn the most ire.
It spurred locals into congregating on Twitter to urge city officials such as Feinen to obtain a copy of the U.S. Constitution and read the Second Amendment, pronto.
Read the Bill Of Rights, #2.
— ROC USA®️?❤️?? (@rocusa) March 14, 2020
Stalin, Pol Pot and Mao approve.
— email@example.com (@realambisagrus) March 14, 2020
Recently, I visited a killing site in #Cambodia. Initially, the Khmer Rouge told people the evacuation was necessary, an “emergency,” & all would return to normal soon.
The reason the Bill of Rights prohibits you from taking actions like these is because you can’t be trusted. pic.twitter.com/Yk7pPDrGUk
— Brian T. Carter (@TXFederalist) March 14, 2020
Have the lawsuits been filed yet? Because it’s my hope that your city – and by extension, you – gets sued into the poorhouse by the avalanche of litigation that’s headed your way.
— James C. King ?% ? (@Fils_d_Artemis) March 14, 2020
— Goad (@BTryggered) March 13, 2020
Please explain what, exactly, gun sales or alcohol sales have to do with covid-19 control.
— firstname.lastname@example.org (@emsteksrv) March 13, 2020
I had no idea a city mayor can override the constitution. Can you go into more detail on that? For some reason, the newspapers I see this in do t address that.
— Jeff McCabe (@buzz4t) March 13, 2020
So, by your logic, in the time of what you call an “emergency”, it is somehow logical to prevent the sale of firearms and ammunition to those people who actually would need them in a time of emergency. Do you even realize how stupid you sound?
— The Dandalorian (@TheDandalorian1) March 14, 2020
In response to the backlash, city officials tried to backtrack.
“The executive order allows the city to be flexible to properly respond to the emergency needs of our community. None of the options will necessarily be implemented but are available in order to protect the welfare and safety of our community if needed,” city manager Jeff Hamilton said to local station WAND.
The notion that the unconstitutional ban of firearm sales won’t “necessarily be implemented” did little to quell growing frustration in the community of roughly 87,000 people.
Nor did the following clarification that accused locals of peddling “false claims” about the otherwise clear-cut executive order:
Special Statement Clarifying City Code Provisions approved 3/13/20 pic.twitter.com/yuzYlDjikX
— City of Champaign (@champaigncity) March 13, 2020
“This statement is in response to several false claims circulating online,” city officials wrote. “To be clear, there is currently no firearm ban and no intent to seize property or close businesses. Additionally, there are no restrictions on the sale of alcohol or gas or the ability to enter or leave Champaign.”
While that appears to be true, it doesn’t negate the fact that Feinen’s EO allows her to perform all of those actions if she so sees fit, as noted by locals.
There is “currently” no ban … and “no intent” … lots of weasel room in that “clarification”.
— Steve Adams (@SteveAdams54) March 13, 2020
Nice deflection. “There is currently no firearm ban or intent to seize property.”
How stupid do you think your citizens are? How about addressing how you’re authorizing yourselves to ban firearms and seize property?
— Brien Lundin (@Brien_Lundin) March 13, 2020
Funny how Castro, Pol Pot, & every single dictator who took power under the guise of an emergency said “it’s only temporary,” & “we don’t intend to use the powers we just granted ourselves…”
There is no clarifying your intent to have tyrannical powers.#2A #RKBA pic.twitter.com/XCapCt9Jk4
— Brian T. Carter (@TXFederalist) March 14, 2020
Yeah well this is damn well unconstitutional.. your mayor & city council has no damn authority to stop the sale of guns, ammo or alcohol..this isn’t Nazi Germany or The Soviet union
— DragonHighLord76 The Duke-Captain ????⚔♤ (@Dragonhighking1) March 14, 2020
Come and take it pic.twitter.com/KrMq4wmUox
— omega lul (@omegalu87589080) March 14, 2020
While their concerns may seem overblown, the facts suggest otherwise, including the facts concerning what happened during Hurricane Katrina fifteen years ago.
“Local police officers began confiscating weapons from civilians in preparation for a forced evacuation of the last holdouts still living here, as President Bush steeled the nation for the grisly scenes of recovering the dead that will unfold in coming days,” The New York Times reported.
“Police officers and federal law enforcement agents scoured the city carrying assault rifles seeking residents who have holed up to avoid forcible eviction, as well as those who are still considering evacuating voluntarily to escape the city’s putrid waters.”
Read Feinen’s full EO below:
For her part, Feinen has argued that she’s always boasted the powers of a veritable dictator.
“So many of those powers, I have had from the beginning,” she said to WAND. “All we have done is enumerate them and now the public is aware of them. So, I am the liquor commissioner. I can shut down bars yesterday, I could have shut them down two years ago.”
“Nothing has changed with respect to that, it is just that we have laid it out, so people are aware of that. In respect to the other items that are listed in the attachment, they have been listed in the city code for 15 years.”
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