by Todd Vandermyde
February 4, 2006
This week at the Capitol saw the battle for your rights heat up once again.
HB-2414, the semi-auto gun ban continues to take center stage. Last week amendment #6 was withdrawn by the sponsor. After weeks of talk in the press about Mayor Daley wanting to bring the Olympics to Chicago, they finally realized that their bill, if signed into law, would prohibit Olympic pistol competitors from holding their events in Illinois. So the Chicago Olympics would have to hold at least some of the shooting events in Indiana or Wisconsin.
It appears that amendment # 7 will be an attempt to “fix” this little problem with the bill. While some may say it is insignificant, it points to the fact that: 1) we are winning and 2) they continue to have problems, as they have from day one.
You will note that we are not putting out a great deal of specifics to the bill. Over the past year, the City has been grasping at straws to try and pass something. They, for once, have been listening to the criticism against their bill and changing it to take away those arguments. The Olympic amendment is the latest example of that. We are not in the business of educating them about their bills. If anything, the latest problem underscores that we have been right all along. Why else would they be changing language to “protect” Olympic shooters? Or changing the language on .50 cals to assure deer hunters that their guns will not be banned? The reason is simple, we are right. And we have been right all along.
I would suggest to everyone, that while it may feel good to post all kinds of technical info and point out every little flaw in the bill on blogs or web pages, the message now is simple – NO to a gun ban. No to Chicago style gun control.
Illinois’ firearms manufacturers have told us that should any form of HB-2414 pass, they will be leaving the state, taking with them over $300 million in manufacturing. Jobs, taxes and other revenue will be lost. So once again, our boy wonder Governor’s plan for Illinois economic recovery is to export more Illinois jobs, more business and more opportunities. That is a message that you can reinforce when you call your state representatives about this bill.
The big question is when will this come up for a vote? Don’t know. We don’t control that, they do. But there are a few tell tale signs that you can watch for. Since the vote will be close, about a 2 vote margin, they will need to have all of their people in attendance. So any absences by anti-gunners should delay it. We also think they are still scrounging for votes and don’t want to call the bill until they think they have the votes to pass it. The more time that goes by, the longer both sides have to work the bill. We think that plays to us.
The more times they change the bill, the more times they admit there are doubts about the bill and how far the impact will be felt. I would expect that once the House is done tinkering with the bill, we may see the final form pop up in the senate as an amendment to a shell bill (one that has no substance and just a title). There are four such bills pending before the Senate Executive Committee: SB-2532, SB-2533, SB-2534, and SB-2535. They could run the bill out and force a vote on it at anytime.
Again, every change at this point is an admission that they have a broad bill that is not designed to impact crime, but to ban guns from law abiding citizens. The Governor himself stated his intentions with the bill in his State of the State address when he said “No law abiding citizen needs…”
The week also saw the first salvo fired by gun owners in this year’s battle. Even though we detest the FOID card system, we are forced to live within it. With the ongoing problems of the State Police being unable to process the FOID card in the statutory requirement of 30 days, they and the Governor have received a lot of negative press. So much so that the Governor hired a bunch of people to try and clear the backlog. On the State Police answering machine, they even told Illinois residents to call back after 8 weeks! We introduced HB-4529. This bill would allow anyone who does not get their FOID card in the prescribed 30 days to sue the State Police for attorneys’ fees, damages and up to $500 per day in punitive damages.
Since the State Police seem to be unconcerned about placing gun owners in legal jeopardy because of their failures, then we will give them some incentives to comply with the law, until we can repeal the FOID card act.
We also saw movement on HB-4693, another so called gun dealer licensing bill. The real aim of this is to give Mayor Daley and the Governor the chance to run dealers out of business by creating their own mini ATFs to regulate gun dealers out of business.
HB-4694 is another attempt to strip Illinois residents of their right to self defense. The bill requires that firearms which are locked up must also be disassembled if there is a child in the house, defined as those under 18. There is no legal way to keep a firearm readily accessible for self defense.
We have also introduced a number of bills dealing with preemption and a few other issues. But being an election year, and the speaker’s limit of three bills per member, we are doubtful on the number that will make it out of the rules committee.
One other bill that got some attention was HB-4132. This bill would have banned the sale or possession of any replica military weapon. In fact it was so broadly drafted, that the impact would have been to cause the removal of the U505 exhibit at the Museum of Science and Industry, the closing of Cantigny and the Big Red 1 museum, as well as forcing the removal of all the artillery pieces at VFWs.
This is just another example of ISRA and NRA staying vigilant at the capitol. Not that it’s going to get reported anywhere where we stuck up for all the veteran organizations or stopped the banning of water pistols. But it was our work that showed what a bad piece of legislation this was; that the price of freedom is eternal vigilance.
But as always, the NRA and ISRA will be at the capitol to keep an eye on the antics of anti-gunners and promote the rights of Illinois 1.5 million law abiding gun owners. Keep calling your representatives and senators and let them know how you feel about pending legislation. Check in with the ISRA website for the latest updates.
And remember what the Governor said “No law abiding citizen needs…” it’s not about controlling crime, he admitted that. It’s about banning guns.
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