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February 24, 2006
It’s been an interesting time at the capitol. The big event is the tug of war going on over the semi-auto ban.
Anti-gunners continue to suffer set backs as their own arrogance gets the best of them. This past week, the Brady Campaign, bought full page ads in newspapers around the suburbs. The ads were targeted in those districts of nine suburban legislators who they thought they could woo over to their side. It backfired
The ads named the legislators and gave out email and phone numbers for people to call and contact them urging their support for the gun ban. Then, after the ads hit, they started robo calls into the districts. These calls are computer generated, hence the term “robo calls”. People were asked, via the recorded message, if they support HB-2414 an anti-crime bill and if they did to press 1 if they opposed press 5. If you pressed 5 the call was dumped since you knew what the bill number was. Those that pressed 1 were transferred to the Capitol office of the legislator.
One secretary of the targeted bunch had an interesting story to tell. About half the people were mad that they were being bothered and wanted to know how to get off the list. They also wanted to know why the legislator was calling them! Of the other half, many did not even know what the bill was about. Some that did know expressed their OPPOSITION to the bill.
One legislator took calls personally since the office people were so overwhelmed. When one of the people on the phone was clueless and sounded familiar, the caller was asked for a name. It turned out to be a hunting partner. After the bill was explained to the caller, the caller exclaimed that “you can’t vote for that, I own those guns”.
Another legislator was so enraged by the phony hyped up, manufactured so called support, that he let loose a tail chewing on the sponsor and proponents of the bill. He has flipped from a yes to a no vote.
Guys, I couldn’t make this up if I tried. This over the top intimidation at legislators usually goes bad. It also shows the disconnect between the Bradys and Illinois politics. An analysis of the week’s events and those leading up to it give me reason to believe they are still short votes.
They targeted a large number of people who voted with us. Which means they need to flip votes. They went high profile in an attempt to make those legislators feel pressure and uncomfortable. They tried to make it look like a hue and cry from the masses when they have no membership base and only rely on general perceptions of things created via a biased media.
If they had the votes, they would not be messing around with amendment #9, more on that in a minute. And they would have run the bill and passed it. All of this tells us they are still short and maybe losing ground daily. Keep your fingers crossed.
As was mentioned, the City has now filed amendment number 9 (2/23/06). Last week we were on amendment #8 which added an exemption for Olympic competitive shooting. Amendment 9, adds in coaches as being exempt from the law as well as shooters. Although, they are only exempt while shooting at the event, range or to or from. It looks like the there may not be an exemption for possession.
These bills also seek to instill a new standard for transporting guns. That you may only transport guns to or from a range, and they must be broken down in a non-functioning state. The over/under for you sports book guys is 10 on the number of amendments we may see. We know there have been at least a dozen drafts of stupid things we haven’t seen.
Many of you may have seen flaws with the bill and pounded your fist on the table about things you think we should be screaming from the mountain tops about. We’ve seen the flaws of the bill, we just don’t talk about all of them in public forums to educate the other side on writing a watered down bill that may find enough votes to pass. It’s not that we haven’t figured it out, we have. And there are a few more things in there that we have seen that the other side hasn’t. We know from past experience that when we give too detailed of an analysis, they go back and fix/re-write the bill. We simply mentioned Olympic shooting and the Daley attempt to lure the Olympics to Chicago and well—a, new amendments. They must have talked to someone in the shooting sports to get the changes in amendment #9 for coaches.
The longer they delay in calling the bill the better it looks for us. They have one more week to get the bill passed by the House schedule. They could seek an extension of the deadline, which could push this out till the end of session. But if the legislature adjourns on time, they have six more weeks left. After that, they can hope to try and revive the issue in the veto session in the fall. If we win all our elections in November, that will be rendered moot as well.
This week also saw some other action on gun bills. HB-4529, a bill that would allow people who do not get their FOID card in time to sue the State Police and recover damages plus costs and attorneys fees passed the House. On a vote of 80 – 29 the bill passed over the objections of the state police and anti-gunners. The bill will got o the senate, were it may get stuck in rules.
Hb-4694 a bill to outlaw self defense in your home was beaten back. After lengthy debate, the bill only received 52 yeas votes. The sponsor then asked for postponed consideration.
** We will now switch from our regularly scheduled programming to House rules 101. Postponed consideration is when a bill receives more than 46 votes but less than the 60 required for passage. The roll call vote for the bill is then dumped and no official record of it exists. The ruling party usually hits the print button, and gets one before the roll is dumped. Now back to our regularly scheduled update.
Being in the gallery for the debate, we watched as representatives pointed out the anti-self defense portions of the bill. How having a gun in your home would have to be 1. locked up or 2. rendered in operable. And that criminal liability exists when a person under the age of 18 is likely to gain access to the firearm.
We may see this bill come back, but we don’t know at this point in time. This was the third blow struck to the anti-gunners this week, with their blunder on the semi-auto ban, the passage of HB-4529 and the rebuke of their no self defense storage law, they just were not having a good week.
There has been some talk of a bill introduced by Senator Brady, not to be confused with the Brady Campaign, formally known as Handgun Control Inc. The bill has not been released from the rules committee. The bill is unlikely to go anywhere this year, as the senate has not released a single gun bill. While we support the measure, it does not look like it will not get a hearing this session.
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Todd is a good guy, I met him personally in Springfield during the 2003 SB1195 BS. He's a good guy to have on our side.
Keep up the good work Todd!!
I've never met Richard Pearson in my life, and I don't much like him.
I've never met Todd Vandermyde, but I'd like to. If he was the I$RA EVP, I'd join in a heartbeat.
Pearson is worth less than two tits on a bull but strength is in the numbers. It's not good enough to do right, you gotta be seen doing right.
Which state organization dedicated to firearms ownership do you belong to?
This will be controversial, but none. The primary reason for that is the way the organization (ISRA) is run.
--ISRA was actively involved in crafting the FOID act in the late '60s, which has turned into a chronic PITA for Illinois gunowners, to the point now of possible felony conviction for the ISP's lack of funding.
--Several years ago, when a grassroots organization cropped up in the "collar counties", ISRA basically absorbed and disbanded it.
--A couple of years ago, ISRA made a $98,000 dollar donation to the ICHV in the form of court-ordered repayment of legal fees for a stunt involving their registration of a formerly owned ICHV internet domain name.
--It seems to be the ISRA's philosophy to mislead. They said nothing to their members about the ICHV payment, and even went as far as denying it when members inquired. During election cycles, they endorse only the pro-gun candidates most likely to win, then claim "victory" when most are reelected, with little real change (a common tactic, I know--but misleading). I remember when Sandra Pihos was elected to take the place of a formerly pro-gun politician, and ISRA commented that members of that district would have to work on that during the next election cycle--didn't happen.
I know what you're thinking--water under the bridge. Let bygones be bygones, and do the right thing and join--they'll make right on it. Then..
--Last year, Pearson and ISRA work closely with ICHV to craft a "compromise" gun show bill, which passes to the governor's desk, where it dies. Then, a bill which removes the benefit gunowners got from the compromise (FTIP record destruction) flies through both chambers and the governor signs it. Pearson spouts off, telling what a great bill this is, and how Illinois is safer from criminals and terrorists now that there is a background check for gunshow purchases (Link). Never mind that a few weeks earlier, we passed a measure that got us something. Also ignore the fact that in the past, when ISRA had opposed similar gun show bills, they failed. For some reason, ISRA supported it, and it passed. Again we see the mistakes of the past--the misleading press, the compromise with our opponents, and another stupid gun law is likely forever with us. This time, to add insult to injury, the Brady Campaign jumped on Pearson's comments, and used our own Pearson provided ammo against us, and likely will again in the future (Link).
I feel bad that I don't have a state organization that I support, but I flat out refuse to support such unmitigated incompetence with my money. Instead, I choose to fight the grassroots fight, writing and calling reps, spreading the word, and the like, which is far more than most ISRA members I've personally met do (you guys aside, of course). I've always said (and continue to say) that if ISRA would put together a pro-gun rally in Springfield (not the Lobby Day BS--a real, honest-to-God rally with thousands in attendance), I would come, and bring friends. At that point, I'd probably pony up for a membership too. However, as long as their abject incompetence continues, with no end or correction in sight, I will not join. It's a conclusion I've struggled with for a long time, and continue to revisit often, but that's where I'm at.
I know you guys don't agree with this approach, and I'm sure some of you will say so and name names. Frankly, though, I just don't see anything changing my mind at this point.
Is that all.......
We all know that.......... You did hear the part about possibly losing your second amendment rights. You would prefer to hold a grudge and then later blame ISRA for the loss.
Did you ever hear the one about "The enemy of my enemy is my friend." We are all sorry that you got your feelings hurt. What are you accomplishing by not helping. Never mind I know the answer.
Go ahead and occupy the high moral ground.
How's the fucking view.
MW365: Well written, well stated post. My sentiments exactly.
The ISRA is like a filtered cigarette. They both leave a bad taste in my mouth and they aren't strong and full flavored. I won't smoke filtered cigarettes and I won't join the ISRA.
Sometimes I wonder about things, like I don't recall so many wanting to cut their nose off despite their face, or, throwing the baby out with the bath water.
It sure is getting crowded up there on that moral high ground.
While you're up there why not do some thing useful like hire some lobbyists to help defeat anti gun legislation.
Or send out legislative alerts to unify gun owners so they can respond efficiently to attacks on the second amendment.
better yet, if there are enough of you, start your own state organization dedicated to firearms ownership.
What?????? You're not doing that. What is it that you are doing. Here's a hint. Watching X Files reruns and eating pizza rolls does not count as saving America.
I know, I know... you will show the ISRA what for. They wont get a dime of your money. After all it's just a scam to get a couple more steak dinners for Rich Pearson. They should pay for their mistakes and for letting you down.
Yep. You really showed em.
I know that giving money to the ISRA to pay for lobbyists can be good, and the more members that belong, the more powerful they are, but one AR15.com member that calls and/or writes his representatives and doesn't belong to the ISRA is better than 20 ISRA members that do nothing except send a check every year.
Maybe you ISRA members need to think about that. How many members are there that actually do as much as most of the posters here?
Like I said, controversial...
From my perspective, that's quite a bit.
I'm well aware of that, thank you.
I don't have a grudge against the ISRA. What I do have is the perspective that they have been utterly ineffective and inept under their current leadership, which is not likely to change anytime soon. Reread my original post--fire Pearson and give Vandermyde his job. I'll write a check for a Life Membership tomorrow.
FWIW, Vandermyde was one of the higher ups until the ICHV fiasco.
I sure have. Just to clarify for me, if a guy heads a group that gives my enemy $98k, what is he? If he's willing to trade away parts of my rights in favor of others while compromising with my enemy, what is he? If he makes damaging public comments that will set back my cause's public relations for years to come, what is he?
My feelings aren't hurt, and I AM helping--just not through the ISRA. I don't begrudge anyone else their position for or against, but I believe that a leader is responsible for those underneath them, and I believe that responsibility for an organization's success (or failure) starts and ends at the top. I enumerated many of the organization's failures, many which happened with Pearson at the helm, some which he was personally responsible for. I've seen no signs of an admission of a mistake, and worse, no signs that anything will ever change.
I don't occupy the high ground. My point view is the same as your point of view, and the point of view of every other member in this forum. It's bent over, with my pants down and my hands on my ankles, and it sucks.
You keep pointing to the financial aspect of this. I don't deny that money plays a big role, but frankly, there are too many members of gun rights organizations out there who think it's all about a check (and plenty who don't even go that far). I remember having a conversation with one member about SB 1195 a few years back--he told me "as long as we keep sending them money, it'll be fine." Yeah right. That same year, my dealer asked me if I had called my senator about SB1195. This was in May or so--roughly 3 months after we knew about it. ISRA sent him a post card at that point. Mind you, I am NOT bashing ISRA for sending him the postcard in May. I don't see how anyone can be an effective activist without the internet, and that's squarely on his shoulders, not ISRA's. What I'm getting at here is that there are plenty of gun rights group members out there who just write a check (or less). In my mind, that's a very minimal step.
As far as the lobbyist, I'm grateful they have a guy in there, and the information they send out drives my information network. This is where my conflict comes in--I recognize the value of that, and I do feel bad that I'm not helping in that regard. If it weren't for this aspect of it, I'd probably never give ISRA another thought.
My thoughts on lobbyists is that it's better not to have fires than it is to constantly put them out. My representative (Leitch) and senator (Risinger) are both solidly pro-gun. This doesn't help at all when ISRA decides to endorse anti-gun legislation they formerly opposed, like the gun show bill last year. Leitch flipped his vote on that one.
I cruise this board and get the information, and circulate it to those I know who have guns. I ALWAYS vote. I phone and write my reps, and encourage others to do so. I take people who have never been shooting out to try it (including my sister's boyfriend from England ). The information here comes from NRA/ISRA. For what it's worth, NRA distanced themselves from Pearson's comments when he shot himself in the foot last year.
Incidentally, until a couple of months ago, you couldn't get ISRA's email alert unless you were a member--a gripe of mine that has been resolved (thanks AKRay ).
At one point, there was talk that the Champaign County Rifle Association was going to go statewide. I'd get in with those guys in a second. They're the ones who worked out the legal concealed carry method in Illinois. They sponsor training classes that allow Illinoisans to get Florida CCW permits. They put up the "Burma shave" style signs along the interstate. In short, they're on the offensive, not the defensive, and they're being successful.
Maybe you weren't here at the time, but I had floated the idea of creating a website for this with several others who used to hang out here when SB1195 was the 800 pound gorilla. Although it didn't work out, I believe AKRay has done that very thing.
At this point, I think I've detailed my efforts enough to make it clear that this is not the case, so I'll just say that I don't watch the X files. Never have. I always liked Gillian Anderson though .
It's not a scam. It IS incompetence.
I can tolerate mistakes. What I have no tolerance for is making the same mistakes over and over, with no acknowledgement of error, and no attempt to correct them. The idea that Richard Pearson pays for his mistakes is ludicrous. As an ISRA member, YOU pay for them. As Illinois gunowners who have to live with the laws they help get enacted, we all have to pay for them. Again, I can accept that it seemed good at the time, but turned out to be a bad idea later. Fine--but learn from what you fucked up, and move on. The FOID "sleeping with the enemy" compromise is a good example. Pearson has admitted it was a mistake--then he goes and does the very same thing on the gun show bill last year! How could that work out?
I haven't heard the "reality of political compromise" tactic yet, so I'll head that off right now. The situation we are in right here, right now in Illinois is strikingly similar to the climate in 1994 in Washington-- the Dems are in control of Congress, and being driven by a powerful anti-gun voice at the helm. In '94, we got the AWB--which is a perfect example of the reality of political compromise. NRA knew they didn't have the votes to beat it, so they watered it down as much as possible. It passed in September, and NRA vowed to come back with a vengeance--and did. They helped take back the House. Then they helped take back the Senate. Then they helped take back the presidency. When they had the votes, they started to move things forward. When an obstructionist Senator Daschle derailed their legislation, they retreated to fight another day, helped get him out of office, and came back to win. Their victories have changed the direction of the Supreme Court, an effect that will be felt for many years to come. In short, they've been getting the job done.
Illinois right now is much the same--the Dems have the House and Senate, and Daley/Blago are driving. One advantage we do have is that some of our Dems are downstaters, which I think gives pro-gun sentiment a majority in the Senate. I have no illusions that we are operating in a hostile environment. However, the anti-gun version of the gun show bill last year was defeated soundly in the Senate. Then the ISRA version passed both houses, for Blago to veto. After that, essentially the same version of the bill that had earlier been defeated in the Senate was rammed through and passed, with ISRA's blessing. On top of it all, Pearson publicly links gun shows to criminal and terrorists (and NRA rejects his comments). How did this bill go from a sound defeat to political inevitability? Simple, ISRA got behind it--for reasons I will never understand. The difference between these two organizations is night and day, in spite of the fact that the political environments are similar, and the stated goal is identical.
If your conclusion is that we cannot overcome the Chicago influence, then our votes and affiliations mean very little, for if that is the case, our cause is ultimately lost and futile, and we are just postponing the inevitable. I don't believe that, and would hope you don't either.
I would venture to guess that it will be far easier for gunowners to defeat HB2414 this year than it would be for ISRA members to get rid of Richard Pearson.
ISRA is not getting results. Even the original post points out that a representative switched to our side, not because of our efforts (or ISRA'S), but because the Brady Campaign shot themselves in the foot. This "wait for the other side to screw up and point it out" philosophy is exactly the same tactic the Democrats have adopted to lose election after election at the national level. It's also what our state Republicans have been doing. Given the number of defeats based on this methodology, why embrace it?
I'll make you a deal racecar. If ISRA pulls off one victory this year, I'll hold my nose and buy a membership. By a victory, I mean a passage of a strong piece of pro-gun legislation, like HB4529. It could be a victory of a pro-gun candidate over an anti in a close race, where ISRA got involved. I'll even throw in the governor--if Blago loses, I'll bite.
On a final note, patriot, I keep coming back to what you said in your post. For some reason, that resonates with me. I shall have to think about what you have said.
Both a member of the NRA and ISRA plus one other and I fax, email, pony mail, and call reps when needed...allot of the time all at once.
I have no doubts about you, but you can't tell me that all members are as active as you are.
If you told me that, I'd either call you stupid or crazy.
I share your many of your objections and have written ISRA about them. Most egregious is not admitting when a huge mistake has been made. ( Funny how some people can be pig headed to a fault.) You are not a member. Complain about a club you BELONG too. Not the one you HOPE will change so it will be good enough for you to join.
Shit man! You require the perfect ISRA.
It does not exist.
What is “the perfect” the enemy of ????
You are a gun owner who has not been counted ( I am not talking about the popular vote). If you are not counted your opinion does not count. Continue to get your legislative alerts from someone else who ponied up. I can send you my copy of the Illinois shooter when I’m done with it.
What you want is not out there.
Did you say something?
Well said. The ISRA may not be perfect, but it is good for the anti's to see an orginazation of gun owners united
It's high time Pearson retire and Vandermyde take the wheel.
I also don't give a penny to the I$RA for the reasons you specified. None of them are forgivable, because as you pointed out, they keep happening. That thing with the gun show bill - Pearson was actually making it sound like it was a pro-gun bill - should be reason enough to get the I$RA shut down and a real gun rights organization in its place. They're useless. The hell with them and their elderly board of directors.
The NRA has only a tiny presence in this state yet their effectiveness rivals that of the I$RA. What does that tell you?
Not trying to pat myself on my own back. It takes an effort coming from the "heart" to take the time necessary to do as I do....and it's not just to my own rep or senator that I contact. It can be upwards close to 80, which IIRC was what the last effort envolved.
I agree 100% with you on the part in red, Cody.
FWIW, I'm an NRA Endowment Member, and my wife is a Life Member, so it's not like I haven't "ponied up" or "been counted." And frankly, I really don't think I'm asking too much. Learn from the mistakes that have been made, make progress, become more effective. Not such a big deal. I'm certainly not asking for perfection.
You are right--it's not my organization, so I won't tell you what to do. I will say that if Wayne LaPierre was like Pearson, I'd be mad as hell, and doing what I could to get rid of him.
I think it's a very telling and sad fact that, although there are a number of different opinions on this thread, the one thing we all seem to agree on is that Pearson is an idiot.