Two mothers from Chicago's South Side are suing three nearby suburbs and making an unusual civil-rights argument in the fight against gun violence. Their lawsuit filed July 7 claims the governments of Lyons, Lincolnwood, and Riverdale don't do enough to stop the "flood" of guns into Chicago that perpetuates violence in poor, black neighborhoods, the Washington Post reports. Pam Bosley and Annette Nance-Holt know of it first-hand: Both lost teenage sons—one was shot while unloading music equipment at a church, the other while shielding a friend on the bus. The mothers, who say their civil rights are being violated, demand employee background checks and better security and training for the suburbs' gun shops.
The lawsuit, citing a 2014 police report, says three gun shops in those towns—plus a fourth in nearby Gary, Indiana—were the source of nearly 20% of firearms found at Chicago crime scenes between 2009 and 2013, reports the Christian Science Monitor. Police have reportedly recovered a gun sold at one particular Riverdale shop every day for the past 10 years, on average. Chicago's superintendent of police, whose city has seen homicides jump 20% this year, says fewer guns coming into the city would decrease violence and agrees suburban shops need to be more strict. But, opponents, including the NRA, say the suit has little merit and is a way for the city to force its gun laws on neighboring jurisdictions.