CHICAGO, March 15 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/
-- The following was released today by the Illinois
State Rifle Association (ISRA):
Law-abiding African Americans and Hispanics would take
it on the chin under a bill now moving through the
Illinois General Assembly. Sponsored by Rep. Harry
HB6123 would prohibit any person or entity from
selling a firearm to a so-called "street gang member."
This prohibition applies even if the individual has
passed a Brady Law FBI background check. Making a
prohibited sale would result in Class 1 felony charges
and possible jail time for the seller. Although the ISRA
supports genuine efforts to curb criminal violence, the
organization is strongly opposed to HB6123 as the bill's
provisions are arbitrary and pose an unreasonable
intrusion on the rights of law-abiding Illinois
"HB6123 promotes racial profiling at its worst,"
commented ISRA Executive Director, Richard Pearson.
"Popular culture has branded urban minorities with the 'gangsta'
stereotype that is pervasive well beyond the confines of
actual criminal enterprises. Today's fashion, music,
slang and lifestyle are all heavily influenced by the
urban experience. Given that the provisions of HB6123
establish no test for determining 'street gang'
membership, and given the harsh penalties for violating
the proposed law, it is understandable that retailers
would shy away from selling firearms to persons whose
speech, dress, mannerisms, or taste in music reflect the
"Several Chicago nightclubs stirred considerable
controversy recently when they denied entry to young men
wearing baggy pants and cornrows in their hair,"
continued Pearson. "The nightclub owners justified these
actions by claiming that baggy pants and certain hair
styles are indicative of gang membership – despite the
fact that the young men had done nothing improper. While
the popular press bristled over the nightclubs' actions,
the press has ignored HB6123 although the bill would
bless, and even require firearm retailers to
discriminate against individuals based on their
appearance. This sort of cultural profiling is vile
enough when persons are denied entry into a private
club, but denying one's constitutional rights based
solely on their appearance flies in the face of the
principles under which our nation was founded. Of
course, if a gang member wished to purchase a firearm,
all he would have to do is don a Brooks Brothers' suit
and speak the King's English and he'd be good to go."
"The bottom line is this," said Pearson. "If HB6123 is
passed into law, the calendar on race-relations will be
turned back 70 years and there will not be a gun shop in
the state that will sell a firearm to an African
American or Hispanic person. If that's Rep. Osterman's
intent, then he has a lot of explaining to do."
The ISRA is the state's leading advocate of safe, lawful
and responsible firearms ownership. For more than a
century, the ISRA has represented the interests of
millions of law-abiding Illinois firearm owners.