As Illinois politicians on both sides of the aisle start to make plans for the upcoming legislative season, both sides have high hopes. Many have financial, budgetary, and job creation concerns, most readers here also have gun rights on the list. Illinois has a tough uphill battle ahead, and gun rights may become a bargaining chip for the governor and his supporters. Most will argue the state’s financial situation is the most pressing issue and deserves the most attention, so gun owners of Illinois should be sure their representation knows not to compromise on gun rights to forward their fiscal agenda.
Gun control supporters in Illinois have changed their agenda slightly with the election of Governor-elect Rauner. The problem with their agenda is that they want to change Illinois gun control laws to suit the urban Chicago anti-gun crowd, at the expense of the rest of the citizens of Illinois. Gun rights in Illinois have long been suppressed beyond federal standards, and beyond gun rights in nearly all other states. Gun rights activists like you blame the gun crimes in Chicago on this extreme approach to gun control. The Chicago Police want the legislation to take care of the guns, problem being guns don’t break the law, gang members, murders, and other criminals do.
The gun control agenda for Illinois democrats is “simple common sense restrictions” on Illinois gun owners. Notice the restrictions are on the gun owners, most of which are upstanding law abiding citizens, and not the criminals who use guns to commit violent crime.
1. Gun control advocates will be making a push to license gun dealers, who are already licensed by the federal Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives (aka BATFE). The federal government has setup standards for firearms qualifications, background checks, finger printing, record keeping, insurance, and security. Why duplicate the effort of the federal government? Enforce federal firearms licensee laws to prevent straw purchases, and sales to felons, and non-US citizens.
2. Chicago Police want Illinois gun deals to document all gun sales at the point of sale level. Federal regulations require a standardized form (4473) be filled out for each sale of firearms. This form requires all pertinent buyers information for a background check. Upon completion of the background check, the firearms details are documented including manufacturer, model, serial number, and caliber. These records are required to be kept for a minimum of 20 years.
3. Politicians want to further restrict firearms transfers, by increasing penalties. Illinois citizens are already required to obtain a FOID card before purchasing firearms or ammunition. When transferring firearms you are required to verify the FOID card using a Illinois State Police system. Not doing so is a crime, but should it be a felony akin to violent crime, No. Instead of unenforceable FOID verification, why not increase penalties on those who use guns to escalate crimes in Illinois.
4. Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy wants penalties for failing to report lost of stolen firearms. He says the current penalties are often ignored because they are insignificant. This again sounds like an enforcement problem with his officers. You shouldn’t be facing jail time for failing to file for a lost of stolen gun.
If Illinois and it’s citizens want to make Illinois a better place there is much work to be done in the years and decades to come. Budgetary and fiscal concerns aside, gun rights in Illinois are still under fire. With Bruce Rauner approaching the governors office, Illinois gun owners should be pushing for support in our own arena.
1. Mandatory jail time for criminals who use firearms to intimidate or cause bodily harm during the commission of a felony.
2. Amend concealed carry regulations to allow US citizens with a carry permit from another state to be allowed to carry in Illinois.
3. Repeal the FOID Act. It’s a misappropriation of Illinois State Police funds better spend on enforcement. FOID was put into law to keep guns away from known gang members and criminals. It’s a failure, and a burden on further crime enforcement.
4. Amend concealed carry in restricted locations. Allow known law abiding citizens to carry concealed firearms where not prohibited by federal law, and private property not marked with approved signage.
Illinois needs to strike a balance on gun rights which favor the good guys, and impede the bad guys. No matter the legislation in place criminals are going to have access to firearms, we need to be prepared and trained for that occasion. Illinois law enforcement are up against a unique force of bad guys, while gun control politicians are up against you and I.