The “Aurora Package” of gun control laws is now out in Illinois. Rep. Kathleen Willis (D-Northlake) rolled out her proposals yesterday with the support of Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson, and their usual gun-rights-denying cheering section. Her proposals are the result of bad-faith negotiation, obstinance, ignorance, and wishful thinking… so “the usual.” The good news is that these proposals are so unworkable and likely would be found unconstitutional, so they stand little chance of ALL being adopted.

First, The Process:

Speaker Michael Madigan tasked Rep. Willis with concocting an “Aurora Package” of gun control laws in the wake of the criminal mass murder February 15 this year in Aurora, IL. Legislative leaders requested all-stakeholder meetings in March to discuss appropriate measures to update the FOID  background check and revocation process. Sadly (or predictably), only ONE such meeting was held among all stakeholders, including the firearms industry, state and local police, and others. ONE. Many of the proposed changes were rejected by the majority of stakeholders because they overreach, and are completely off target.  And yet she still persisted…. and came up with these proposals:

  1. Massive FOID Cost Increase – Mandates fingerprinting for FOID card application, replacement, or renewal. We estimate this would raise the cost of the application for a permission slip (ie:FOID card) to exercise your rights to $100 or more. There is NO fee cap called out either. FOID validity duration was also slashed in half, from ten to five years. The State just lost a case in the Appeals Court February 2018 when a White County, IL Second Judicial Circuit Court judge ruled the Illinois Firearms Owners Identification Card Act unconstitutional. Smooth move, guys.
  2. FOID Applications In Person Only at Illinois State Police locations – There are 21 ISP district offices in IL, and 2.4 Million FOID cards holders. So there will be almost 500,000 visitors per year to just 21 district offices? How precisely is that going to work, and who is going to pay for all these added labor costs? How can it be constitutional to require people to overcome travel AND financial barriers to exercise their constitutional rights?
  3. All Firearm Transfers MUST go through an FFL – this means NO MORE private transfers. AT ALL. Current law requires private sellers to retain records of their transactions for at least 10 years. After that, you may destroy or keep the records, it is up to you. Not any more…. Your private transactions will be recorded FOREVER.
    • And some of you may even be thinking: “But wait! I have an FFL! I’m going to get SO much business from transfers now! Prosperity awaits!” Not so fast – fees are capped at $10. I will NOT do FFL transfers for $10. Nobody who can do math will! The cost of compliance, storage, fulfilling trace requests, and on and on are way above$10. So there will be no more private transactions in Illinois. Is this a bug, or a feature, of this legislation?
  4. Local law enforcement MUST obtain a warrant for, and seize firearms from, individuals whose FOID has been revoked and he/she has failed to file transfer paperwork within 48 hours.  And failure to file this paperwork within 48 hours of revocation would also now be a felony. Well… there are a couple problems here with this folks. Many law enforcement officers want NOTHING to do with kicking down doors to seize guns. We know a lot of cops, and you probably do too. Ask them what they think of this. Plus, felony penalties (including loss of gun rights FOREVER) for what could be a good-faith but failed effort to comply? This is just not reasonable.
  5. There are other significant issues with the proposed amendment that we will address if these measures gain any traction. 

What happened in Aurora last February was the criminal, depraved acts of a deranged individual.

He was NOT a qualified transferee, and there were MULTIPLE process failures that lead to his obtaining that gun through legal channels. These proposed legislative cures are completely off target in that MOST recovered crime guns are obtained by criminals illegally. And yet this is sadly typical: Government response to failure by government officials to do their job is… more Government!

This proposed gun control package is unpopular not only with the gun lobby, but also with law enforcement. Outside of rabid haters of private firearms ownership, there is little support for any of it. And passage of these FOID card amendments increases the likelihood that the FOID Act is tossed out in its entirety as an unconstitutional burden on the exercise of constitutional rights.

If Amendment 1 to HB96 is called for a vote, which we don’t expect to happen this week, we’ll send out the alert to contact your legislator to Vote “NO” on these bills. Or maybe we should just let the gun control enthusiasts step on a rake again…

Thank you for your support but remember…

These bills all sound terrible for gun owners, and they would be if made law, but they are a long way from becoming law. FFL-IL, Springfield Armory, and the Illinois State Rifle Association all have professionals on the ground at the state capitol, staying on top of developments in regards to Illinois gun control. Your support and direct contact with *your* legislator will be very important in the future to keep these bills from becoming law. Stay tuned for more developments.