(Received: 06/02/2013, Posted: 06/04/2013)
A MESSAGE TO ISRA MEMBERS FROM ISRA PRESIDENT DON MORAN
As most of you know by now, a "concealed carry" bill passed both chambers of the Illinois General Assembly yesterday, the last day of the legislature's regular session. By doing so, Illinois has partially met its obligations as ordered by the federal appeals court. The next set of milestones includes getting the governor to sign the legislation and for the state police and other government agencies to implement the provisions of the new concealed carry law.
The bottom line up front is that anyone who feels that the war has now been won is sorely mistaken. The government of Illinois is not any less anti-gun today than it was at this time last year. Passage of this concealed carry bill has not transformed Illinois into Texas by any stretch of the imagination. While the concealed carry bill has left gun owners feeling lukewarm, the gun control movement is boiling mad. You can expect the gun controllers and their friends in the legislature's anti-gun caucus to come back at us with a vengeance. You better believe that the gun-grabbers will make sure that the road to concealed carry implementation a rocky one. You better believe that the gun controllers will redouble their efforts to make private firearm ownership too expensive and too impractical for the average citizen.
As I write this letter to you, the ISRA's team of attorneys and legislative analysts are pouring over the concealed carry bill to evaluate both the obvious and the more subtle ramifications contained in the bill's language. I will not speak to the details of the bill until that analysis is complete. However, it is important that you understand that the bill affects all gun owners - whether they decide to apply for concealed carry or not. There is no illusion that this legislative solution to the court order was arrived at in an atmosphere of trust. Therefore, at this juncture, we are not entirely sure whether the concealed carry bill is an honest effort to enhance your security, or a gun control Trojan Horse that endangers your right to keep and bear arms. When we have a better understanding of the bill and its implications, I will issue further communication with you.
I'm sure you can appreciate that it's been a long road from where we were a decade ago to where we are today. Once a decision in the Heller case was reached, we all knew it was just a matter of time before an opportunity would arise to bring the concealed carry issue to a head in Illinois. The McDonald and Shepard cases laid the groundwork for the final push to compel Illinois to allow average citizens to carry defensive firearms for the protection of themselves and their families. Although our job is far from over, I am very proud of the ISRA's leadership role in forcing Illinois to implement concealed carry.
In closing, I would like to recognize the efforts of our Executive Director, Richard Pearson and the rest of the ISRA lobbying staff. Without their diligence and tenacity, the legislature could have easily passed a very restrictive concealed carry bill yet still meet the requirements of the court order. Thanks to our lobbyists' hard work, the concealed carry bill was passed without being encumbered with gun bans, or magazine restrictions.
I would also like to thank our many local partners who got behind this fight for the long haul. Among them are Illinois Carry, Second Amendment Sisters, Chicago Firearm Safety Association, Guns Save Life, and the McHenry County Concealed Carry Association. It goes without saying that, at the national level, the help Illinois gun owners got from the NRA and the Second Amendment Foundation was invaluable in helping us join the 49 other states that allow good citizens to defend themselves. We are also very grateful for the moral support lent by our fellow NRA state affiliates from across the nation.
So, until you hear from me again, I ask that you sit tight and be prepared to respond to our calls for support. I cannot overemphasize the fact that passage of concealed carry is not the end of the war to preserve and protect your gun rights. We have merely opened a new battlefront where success will require a vigorous defense of what we have accomplished and an aggressive push to achieve what is right. The ISRA draws its strength from its members. I know I can count on you all to step up and face the challenges that lie ahead. Those future challenges will be great, but not insurmountable. Preservation of the right to keep and bear arms is an American cultural imperative. I am confident that the cause of the righteous will prevail over those who seek to diminish the principles upon which our great nation was founded.
Illinois State Rifle Association