By Todd Vandermyde, Executive Director Federal Firearms Licensees of Illinois

How Did Anti-Gun Day Happen?

In short, Tuesday February 27th in Springfield was a disaster and we were overcome by events. After holding back the horde during the last session and the veto session, while law abiding gun owners went on about their daily lives, one thing was clear: the anti-gun groups had been getting into the district offices, meeting legislators, and putting on a full court press. The biggest failure on our part was failing to identify this and counter it quickly.

The anti-gun lobby hurriedly ramped up their efforts after Las Vegas, and we pushed back as we always do. We urged patience to wait for the facts to come out, and to discover where the system broke down.  As things calmed down, legislators alignment on gun issues returned to its previous status quo. Then came the tragedy in Florida.

Professional PR organizations, and a mass media who are completely biased against and ignorant of gun rights issues, amplified this tragic story into a two week long media frenzy. Not nearly enough was said about the cascading serial failure of federal, state, and local law enforcement – It was just Guns-Guns-Guns… NRA-NRA-NRA.

Even with this coordinated effort, we should have been okay in Springfield. Our organization drafted bills which addressed many of the issues raised for gun dealer licensing, and we were confident we could hold the line on anti-gun legislation. But events overcame us.

There is a primary election in three weeks, and a number of Cook County democrats have contested primaries. They were told of their polling numbers, and informed that they could not afford to miss a vote. So while six or more representatives were regularly missing for floor votes, this time the call went out that the votes would be Wednesday and their attendance was mandatory.  Cardinal Cupich began making calls to legislators, Rep Daniel J. Burke (D-1st) named his body armor and magazine limit ban after murdered Chicago Police Commander Paul Bauer (though neither magazine capacity nor body armor was a factor in his murder), and Speaker Madigan welcomed the opportunity for a debate on any topic other than sexual harassment within his office and caucus.

Add to the mix the retirement of a very large number of House members, and some normally reliable suburban republicans concerned with the Governor’s polling, and you have the perfect storm for haphazard law making. On Dealer Licensing: a couple of downstate democrats, a few retiring republicans, and a handful of suburban republicans passed this awful bill. They got to 64 votes for. 6 months ago, they were at 54. On the rest of the anti-gun bills, as we thought might happen, you had legislators picking and choosing differing bills to support so they had enough votes to pass everything they put up on the board. And I don’t think we are done yet.

 

What Passed, Where’s It Going, And What Can I Do?

To Governor Rauner:

  • SB1657: Gun Dealer Licensing. We’ve written at length on how terrible this bill is.  If implemented by anti-gun rule-making this bill would drive most independent gun shops out of business. The only places left to buy firearms in Illinois would be big box stores (who’ve now chosen to signal their virtue by halting sales of Modern Sporting Rifles) or internet/out-of-state sellers. This deprives Illinois of substantial sales tax revenue and thousands of jobs. Firearms dealers are already licensed by the US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. So this is just an expensive and redundant effort.
Please call the Governor’s office at 217-782-0244 and ask for his Veto of SB1657 
Explain to the person you speak with that SB1657 Gun Dealer Licensing targets honest business men and women who are not the source of Chicago’s violence. Politely impress upon him/her that the Illinois gun owners who helped elect him to office expect his support in return, and that this election season is the perfect opportunity to show that he does stand with us.

To Illinois House Floor for Vote:

  • HB 1469Amendment 1 Bans the sale, purchase, transfer or possession of any gun magazine over 10 rounds and the use of body armor (applies to all gun owners; even retired law enforcement or military veterans). Use of body armor in the commission of a crime is already illegal. This bill criminalizes the lawful possession of body armor – used by Range Safety Officers, Security and Armored Car personnel, convenience store clerks who have a high expectation of robbery, EMT’s going into bad neighborhoods, and on and on.  A ban on possession means confiscation of every >10 round magazine – rifle or pistol.
  • HB 772 – Creates the Lethal Order of Protection Act to allow family members to petition the courts to have citizens be labeled a “danger to themselves or others” just for owning a firearm. HB 772 would cause the surrender of your FOID card, CCL, and all firearms without notice or due process. Afterwards you can then hire a lawyer and try to get them back.

Please call your state representative and urge him/her to oppose these. Contact Info for your legislators is here

To the Illinois Senate

  • HB 1465 – increases age to purchase or possess rifles to 21. Say goodbye to most youth shooting leagues unless sanctioned by the International Olympic Committee or USA Shooting. And 18-20 year olds may no longer defend themselves with a Modern Sporting Rifle (AR15 etc).
  • HB 1467 – bans sale, purchase, transfer, or possession of bump stocks and trigger cranks. The other side listened to our objections to the original bill and amended it to permit gunsmithing.
  • HB 1468 – increases waiting period on rifles to from 24 hours to 72 hours.
  • SB 2314 – Grants municipalities authority to regulate possession and ownership of “assault weapons,” taking authority away from State of Illinois and returning us to a patchwork of  firearms laws with respect to transportation and storage.
  • SB 3297 – Bans the transfer of “assault weapons,” .50 caliber firearms, and large capacity magazines of more than 10 rounds.
  • SB 3298 – Requires local law enforcement agencies to approve concealled carry licenses (in addition to the IL State Police).

Please call your state senator and urge him/her to oppose these bills. Contact Info for your legislators is here

 

What Happens Next

We know the House is in next week, and the magazine capacity ban bill and a couple of other bills are still pending. They just filed a committee hearing again recently with more gun bills to come up for a hearing soon.
The Senate is out, but returns in a week. They will then take up the House passed bills in committee Thursday in a Chicago hearing, and then the following week on the floor. They may also take up other measures. Which ones? We don’t know. This is a full blown attack on guns,  law abiding gun ownership, and the gun culture at large.
The anti-gunners also think the Governor is trapped in a trick bag, and that he will be forced to sign the Dealer Licensing bills. They will only talk about changes, or tweaks, and trailer bills once he has already signed the Dealer Licensing bills into law. They think they hold all the cards. That they can land even more gun bills on the Governor’s desk in an effort to force him to choose between suburban voters and his base. We cannot allow this to happen. If there was ever a time to channel your efforts, NOW is that time! There are 2.1 million legal firearms owners in Illinois.  Make your voices heard!