Just short of two weeks ago, Illinois gun rights activists fought off the latest onslaught from the citizen disarmament crowd. The anti-gun extremists made their move on April 16th--anniversary of the Virginia Tech killings (anyone who thinks that's a coincidence would perhaps be interested in a sweet deal on a pair of breeding mules); they bused Chicago aldermen down to Springfield; and two nights previously, held a "forum" at the NIU campus (although that ended up not going so well for them).
The focus of their efforts? No secret about that (or check the top two priorities listed on the Illinois Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence website)--HB 758, to ban private sales of handguns, and SB 1007, to ban magazines with a capacity of eleven or more rounds.
Just as predicted, HB 758 came up for a vote, and thanks in no small part to the grassroots efforts of concerned, civic-minded Illinois gun owners, was narrowly defeated (58 to 58, with 60 votes needed to pass). With the defeat of HB 758, they didn't even try to pass the still more onerous laws they had hoped for.
The failure of the background check legislation led Rep. Eddie Acevedo (D-Chicago), who is pushing a ban on assault weapons, and supporters of other Daley-backed gun-control bills to put off further votes Wednesday.I'm not writing this to gloat (well--maybe a little), and I certainly don't want my fellow Illinois gun rights activists to become complacent--the recent bloody weekend in Chicago (even by Chicago's standards) has undoubtedly re-energized the gun prohibitionists.
No--the point to which I am slowly getting pertains to the statements Illinois State Representative LaShawn K. Ford made on the House floor during the debate over HB 758. The relevant portion, about 3 minutes long, can be heard here (mp3 format)--it starts with Ford asking the bill's sponsor, Rep. Harry Osterman, some questions, Osterman answering those questions, and Ford explaining why he supported the bill.
I have done my best to directly quote the part of Ford's speech that really offends me--I'm no transcriptionist, but I can promise that any inaccuracies are both accidental and incidental:
And I think that this legislation--I think everyone should enjoy what the Constitution says, but I think we all should join in. If, right now, we have people voting against, um, opportunities for ex-offenders to have the opportunity to go to work, and we know that gun violence is--is prevalent in communities that's been subject to, um, people not being able to go to work. So, as much as I would like to share the views of the other side, at this point, I have no choice but to vote "yes" for your legislation, because right now, we're voting against legislation to improve schools in my district. We're voting against funding going back to the non-for-profit agencies, and people are being killed every day. Unfortunately, I cannot support the fact that people think they should have their Second Amendment right respected at this time, but I look forward to the time when I can say that people should enjoy their Second Amendment right, but until then, I ask that everyone vote "yes," so that we can, um, enjoy what the Constitution says: "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."Never mind the rather incoherent, rambling nature of his speech. Never mind the grammatical lapses. Hell--never mind even the fact that he isn't even bright enough to know that "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" comes from the Declaration of Independence, rather than the Constitution--all that is beside the point. The point is that he seems to know that the Second Amendment prohibits restrictive gun laws like HB 758, but since other legislators have refused to support legislation he wants, he feels justified in supporting legislation that he knows to be unconstitutional. That makes him no better than an extortionist--"give me what I want, or I'll violate your rights--the Constitution be damned."
Hell--I don't know if even my "Second Amendment Violation Amnesty Act" would be enough to protect him.