I've spent much of the last couple months warning of the danger in Illinois of HB 48, which would ban private handgun sales in the state. As I keep saying (to the point of tedium, no doubt), this has been the number one priority of the forcible citizen disarmament lobby in Illinois.
Starting the middle of this past week, I got to shift from warning of that danger, to gloating over the bill's ignominious defeat.
The question now, though, is what will they come after next? Well, actually, we know what they came after next--the day after HB 48 went down in flames, HB 179, mandating "safe-storage," made its own smoking crater right next to the wreckage of HB 48.
OK--but they're still not going to give up--they never do. So what's the next threat? HB 180 would require that all dealers whose inventory includes handguns, and all gunsmiths who work on handguns, acquire state licenses, in addition to the federal license. This bill would be a nightmare, and would actually allow the state to shut down all handgun retail, by simply refusing to issue the licenses (which they can do for any reason they wish, or for no reason at all).
HB 180 has gathered a lot of co-sponsors, but it's so draconian that I think we can beat it--if they couldn't pass HB 48, I don't see how they can pass HB 180.
I think the next goal is HB 845--a "lost or stolen" reporting requirement. I've railed against such legislation often enough in the past that I'm not going to rehash the arguments here--suffice it to say that if such a law passes, all my guns are suddenly going to be "lost."
Still, it's something that sounds "reasonable" to the uninitiated, so its passage is considered doable--there have even been concerted efforts to pass similar legislation in Pennsylvania (a rather more gun-friendly environment than Illinois). Apparently, the Illinois Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence (ICPGV) thinks "lost or stolen" is the place to make their next push. At their site, you'll see that both "Universal Background Checks" and "Reporting Lost or Stolen Firearms" are listed as being "priority" legislation.
Now, though, the "Universal Background Checks" legislation is off the table (unless it comes back as an amendment, or as part of a senate bill, but since we beat it once, we can presumably do it again), so "Reporting Lost or Stolen Firearms" would seem to be alone. The interesting thing is that according to Google Cache, as of less than a week ago, the background checks bill was their only "priority."
In other words, when their only priority legislation was defeated, they suddenly discovered another priority.
Also from ICPGV:
WHAT'S NEWIn the wild, predators attempt to identify the most vulnerable prey--that which can be taken with the greatest chance of success, the least expenditure of energy, and the least risk of injury to the predator. Those who would destroy our rights are simply another kind of predator--one that preys on liberties, rather than herbivores. They seem to have identified "lost or stolen" legislation as their next best chance of getting a meal, because they think we won't fight it with everything we have.
3/27/09 – Urgent: We Need Your Help to Stop Illegal Gun Trafficking
Many guns used in crimes can be sourced to illegal sales of firearms that were stolen from or lost by a lawful owner. One important way to disrupt this channel of firearms entering the illegal market is to require that a person report the loss or theft of their firearms. Reporting gives law enforcement the tools to identify individuals engaging in, furthering and profiting from such trade and distribution, while making gun trafficking more difficult for criminals.
We urge you to take the time to call or email your state Representative and urge him or her to support HB 845 (Acevedo), which would require FOID card holders to report the loss or theft of their handguns to local law enforcement agencies within 72 hours after discovering the loss or theft.
Let's send 'em away disappointed and hungry.