ELGIN, IL GUN RAMPAGE PROVES JUSTICE SYSTEM, NOT GUN LAWS, NEEDS FIXING

Wednesday, April 18th, 2001

BELLEVUE, WA – An April 14 shooting rampage in Elgin, IL, a Chicago suburb, is clear proof that the justice system needs an overhaul, not this nation’s gun laws, said Joe Waldron, executive director of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms.

Waldron pointed to the criminal record of accused gunman Luther “Luke” Casteel, who faces 43 different charges in relation to the shooting, which left two dead and 16 wounded at an Elgin bar.

“Luther Casteel is a text book example of why the firearms community has rallied behind ‘Three Strikes’ and ‘Hard Time for Armed Crime’ laws,” Waldron stated. “Gun owners put these laws on the books in several states, because we know that locking up criminals is a far better solution to the crime problem than feel-good, do-nothing laws that rob honest citizens of their gun rights.”

“With this guy’s record,” Waldron stated, “he should not have even been on the street, much less invading an establishment with two shotguns and two handguns. Before the politicians start looking at more ways to steal firearms civil rights from Illinois residents, they ought to look very hard at the judges and prosecuting attorneys who continually gave the suspect a ‘kid glove treatment’ over the past 26 years.”

Waldron angrily pointed to Casteel’s criminal record, which spans the past quarter-century. Beginning in 1974, Casteel was arrested 15 times as a juvenile, and did time in a juvenile prison. Convicted on two counts of armed robbery and a weapons charge (he used a sawed-off shotgun during robberies of a restaurant and convenience store), he was sent to a juvenile prison in Joliet, from which he escaped after serving one year of a four-year sentence.

“Four weeks after he was arrested for that escape,” Waldron noted, “court records show that he pleaded guilty to two more armed robberies.

“He didn’t waste any time getting into trouble after being paroled in 1978, and this is when the system started breaking down,” Waldron continued. “By 1980, Casteel had racked up three battery charges, which were dropped. In 1981, he pleaded guilty to armed robbery, drawing a 13-year sentence, for which he did eight years. And after he got out, he went right back to breaking the law.”

In 1990, according to published reports, Casteel was charged with threatening to murder his wife with a handgun.

“But that charge, along with several firearms charges, were dropped,” Waldron stressed. “Whoever in the prosecutor’s office allowed that to happen should be held responsible, not the law-abiding gun owners of Illinois. You can bet this crime will be used by gun control zealots to push even more restrictions, claiming that so-called ‘easy access to guns’ is responsible. It is unconscionable that Casteel, with his criminal record, was free.

“Lock up Luther Casteel, not firearms rights,” Waldron insisted.