Things have begun to heat up at the
capitol. We have several right to carry bills in the
House and another in the Senate. And we are tracking
some 55 gun bills and another dozen or so hunting bills.
The gamut runs from wanting to ban lead sinkers for
fishermen to semi-auto bans. One thing is for certain,
there is a different air about Springfield this year.
With the Heller decision still fresh in the minds of
people, and this being the first legislative session
since it came out, it has taken its toll on the
anti-gunners. Once avowed anti-gun legislators now find
themselves having to face the question of how their
proposal gets past a constitutional test. Even as we
present bills they don't like, they are forced to
carefully question the proposals and find new reasons to
shore up old beliefs.
One representative proclaimed that she now supports the
Second Amendment. But I'm not sure that her version
would square with ours. And other legislators who voted
anti-gun are having debates about what they can really
do. Those that are intellectually honest with themselves
are admitting they are handcuffed, the playing field has
It appears that the anti-gunners are starting off by
pinning all their hopes on HB-48 – a ban on the private
transfer of handguns. Under this bill, all handgun
transfers would be forced to go through an FFL, except
for certain transfers to family members.
Once again the anti-gunners are trying to throw more red
tape and bureaucracy just to make a lawful transfer. In
committee they cited the 900 people who were stopped
from buying a firearm, by the background check. Hmmm. . .
with 1.2 million FOID cards, 900 denials means that is
.0008% of FOID card holders. Less than 1/10th of 1% of
all FOID card holders. There are years Chicago has had
more murders than that number. But we digress.
You see, what they are proposing is already the law in
Chicago. Chapter 8-20-170 of the Municipal Code of the
City of Chicago says:
“ (a) No firearm may be sold or otherwise
transferred within the City of Chicago except through a licensed weapons dealer
as defined in Chapter 4-144 of the Municipal Code of the City of Chicago.”
Ever try to find a gun dealer in Chicago? Last
time we looked there was one and all they do is police business. And we all know
how well this little proposal has worked. I'll bet that every gangbanger, or
criminal bent on making another score will stop they next time they want a
handgun and take their partner in crime right to a gun dealer to effect the
But that is the land of make believe that the Sponsor and other gun grabbers
live in. Pass another law, and “we'll help stop the crime”. But no sooner do
they demand the passage of their silly little scheme, then they announce that it
will not solve all the problems and demand yet another way to interfere with our
HB-48 is one of the biggest threats we face this year in the House. Having been
beaten back year after year, they are attempting to score a victory in light of
last year's overwhelming defeat.
One bill that is getting a lot of attention through emails and the internet is
HB-687 by Rep. Dunkin. This bill would require every person who has an FOID card
to obtain a $1 million insurance policy for willful and negligent acts. Never
mind that they don't sell insurance policies for willful acts. But this is just
another attempt to regulate or tax our rights away.
It is very encouraging to note that so many of you have called your legislators
and emailed us to express your opinions about this bill. But this is not the
threat to our rights as HB-48 is. You are well represented in Springfield by a
crew of dedicated lobbyists. This is a bill that while it gets your blood
pressure up, is one that we have killed before and will kill again this year.
Please turn your attention to your state reps. and HB-48.
Not only are we fighting anti-gun bills like HB-48 and a semi-auto ban, HB-165,
We have bills that want to register every private firearm transfer in Illinois
with the state police – HB-4243, remove your right to own a gun if you fail to
report a lost or stolen firearm – HB-845. Just to name a few.
Amidst all the anti-gun bills we have a few of our own. In the house there are
four right to carry bills. It seems that more than one person wants to be
involved in this. Adding to the consternation of the gun hating anti-self
defense crowd is the fact that the Illinois Sheriffs' Association has come out
in support of right to carry. With this we now have a crack in that blue wall
that has always opposed us.
Working with the sheriffs we think we will have a reasonable proposal to bring
forward. We also see the benefits from the Heller decision where the
court talked about the ‘the individual right to possess and carry weapons in
case of confrontation.”
Our impediment to passing right to carry has always been the fact that
leadership in the general assembly has ruled we need a super majority. That
difference of 11 votes from 60 to 71 makes all the difference in the world in
trying to pass right to carry.
While the new makeup of the legislature is challenging, it is not a sure thing
for the anti-gunners, even in the house where we lost a couple of good friends
and supporters. While they pin their hopes to polls and media hype, the
nervousness in their eyes betrays their fear. And as they try to grab whatever
they can, they know that a second Supreme Court decision is in the works with
the Chicago lawsuit.
During the debates over the legislation in committee, it became apparent just
how powerful the Heller decision is. At the committee hearing on the
right to carry bill, the best line of defense that the other side could muster,
was it was a decision that only applies to the federal government. That was from
For those who have read my articles over the years, you know that I'm not a
lawyer, but a bulldozer operator by trade. Becoming a lobbyist was more of an
accident then by design. But like you, the founding fathers' words have been an
inspiration. Not content with Cliff notes, I've taken the time to read numerous
opinions of the court on guns and other constitutional principals. Through that
and a healthy appetite for a good debate, it has allowed me to be your advocate.
Without reservation, we can say that it was fear we witnessed at those committee
hearings. Listening to lawyers fail score a single mark against the Heller
decision was remarkable. Listening to the most avowed anti-gunners have to
mention it and the Supreme Court and stumble for words trying to denigrate our
“enumerated constitutional right” was worth the price of admission.
Reciting what is becoming my favorite passage:
“We know of no other enumerated
constitutional right whose core protection has been subjected to a
freestanding “interest-balancing” approach. The very enumeration of the right
takes out of the hands of government—even the Third Branch of Government—the
power to decide on a case-by-case basis whether the right is really worth
They were speechless. They had no answer. And
the mere mention of the Court's ruling rolled off their tongues dripping with
disdain. The fact that this construction worker, arguing the words of the Court,
is able to sit across the table and battle it out with lawyers from across the
state, speaks to the power of the Heller decision. More than one
anti-gunner has said they would much rather be arguing from where we stand, then
where they are.
This is all well and good. But on any given day, a good number of legislators
will use the constitution as a door mat. And on some days, a majority are
willing to do so. Most of them come from Chicago where, their leader recently
decried the federal government chasing down corruption inside city hall. Now
that's the right approach; trample of the rights of citizens, and blame the
prosecutors for taking down those that take bribes at City Hall.
But they will not prevail. As we have said more than once, what do the gun
haters and anti-gunners do when they get together? Talk about the gun they
didn't buy? With the run on firearms, it would seem there are few of them. The
hunting trip they didn't take? The gun show they didn't go to? Or the match they
No they get together and loathe us, our ideals and the fact that we roll up our
sleeves and get it done. And for the next few weeks that's what we need you to
do. Make the calls, visit your legislators, remind them how you feel and ask
them two simple questions;
1. Are the criminals going to follow this law?
2. How does diminishing the rights of the law abiding gun owners make it safer?
Then come to IGOLD on March 11th and join your
fellow gun owners in fighting for your rights at the state capitol.
After all, HB-48 is about trying to regulate a right out of existence. The Court
gave us the tool to to stop it, we just have to use it. March 11th at the State
Capitol is the time and place.