Posted: 05/12/2008

Capitol Commentary
By Todd Vandermyde

“5/10/08 – Senate Bill 1007 which bans the sale, manufacture and possession of any large capacity ammunition magazine is scheduled to be debated in the Illinois House of Representatives in the next several weeks. Now is the time to call your State Representative and urge them to support this common sense legislation to reduce gun violence in Illinois.” – Illinois Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence

That kinda tells us where we will be and what will be taking place over the next couple of weeks. We have been hearing rumblings that they may try and bring back SB-1007. We know from past votes they are short of the 60 they need and we plan on making them shorter.

It seems that their series of losses has been driving them crazy. As soon as they think they have us beat, then we move the ends on them again. That and the fact that in a few weeks they could receive a major set back with a very pro-gun ruling from the US Supreme Court I believe has them running a bit scared.

With two democratic candidates running as far away from gun control as they can, you would think, that they would take their lumps and plot for a vote after the election. No they decided to get in the face of a few legislators.

Two of them are State Representatives Sandy Cole and Dennis Reboletti. The Brady Campaign dropped a mail piece in their districts to women trying to gin up some sort of “outrage”. So far it hasn’t worked. Calls “trickled” in according to one secretary. Then they started placing robo calls to people trying to get more to call in. These were coupled with a patch through that you could press 1 to be connected to the state rep’s office. They even protested Representative Cole’s office. All two of them.

When the FOID card and background checks are explained to the few callers who actually take time to ask questions, the response seems to be, “I didn’t know that” or they didn’t say that.

The message from the Brady Bunch has been misleading. Imagine that. They make it sound like there are no background checks on handgun sales. Not true. It’s called the FOID card. And what they want to do is stop the private transfer of handguns between to law abiding people. It doesn’t matter that both have to have FOID cards, and have already passed a background check to get them. Doesn’t matter that the waiting period applies to private sales. Doesn’t matter that you have to keep a record of the sale for 10 years.

No they didn’t tell all those parts of Illinois law, they said:

“Do YOU think background checks should be
required to buy a handgun?

Your Representative Sandy Cole doesn’t think so. She voted “NO”
on HB 758, a bill that would close a loophole in Illinois and require
background checks on everyone who wants to buy a handgun.”

Again, before anyone can legally buy a handgun in Illinois they have to have a FOID card. In order to get a FOID card, you have to pass a background check. Every night, the FOID card database is run against new mental health admissions in the DHS database. The State Police also run constant checks against new criminal conviction information that is entered into the state systems.

Those background checks are ongoing and continuous. How else does someone have their FOID card revoked? The misinformation, distortion and spinning or the issue only damages the credibility of the anti-gunners.

For Sandy Cole, her opponent was removed from the ballot last week. If that holds, they will have just picked a fight with someone who has no general election opponent. That is political brilliance. Of course if you thought that you would never get that vote and just wanted to piss them off, then it was a winner.

So far in both cases, calls from pro-gunners who got the mail and robo calls are out pacing the anti-calls. Without a statewide alert from our side, people who read the story in the Daily Herald generated calls for Representative Cole, saying thanks and support.

With Representative Reboletti, again they think that bullying, and press will somehow win what they have failed to achieve. A former prosecutor, he knows that the majority of the shootings that are taking place are doing so as a gang war erupts in Chicago. He has worked on straw purchase legislation. And called out those who have not supported his bills to stop the criminal trafficking in firearms.

Over the past weeks we have seen the anti-gunners frustration grow as the Governor has complained that the democratically controlled House refuses to vote for his pet projects like gun control. Now anti-gunners are just as bewildered since their Chicago dominated legislature won’t pass their pet issues.

We now are hearing word that anti-gunners may try to resurrect HB-758 as an amendment on to HB-5191. If they try to do that, they will only make a bad bill worse. And give more ammunition to kill it – pun intended.

With the acidic atmosphere at the capitol, it looks like we are in for another long overtime session. This gives the anti-gunners more time to try and bully people, or pull more stunts to try and slip something through. It also means we have to remain vigilant through out the rest of session.

What can you do? It’s the question we get all the time. Stay in touch with your state reps and senators. Be polite when you talk to them. You can be passionate and hold strong beliefs, but as we have seen, the attacks and badgering by the antis has done nothing to help them. I would not put it past anti-gunners to call up and harangue legislators pretending to be gun owners. At this time, given their desperation, who knows what they will do.

In between calling legislators and talking to them, keep up with the ISRA website as we’ll keep you updated with the behind the scenes antics at the state capitol. We will be posting positional papers and talking points as things progress. So stay tuned.