As I mentioned just over a week ago, even the extremely modest protection to gun owners offered by Illinois HB 182 was enough to push the state's citizen disarmament lobby groups into hysteria.
As Representative John Bradley's HB 182 was originally drafted, all it did was amend the places where one could legally carry a firearm (or taser) from one's own "abode or fixed place of business," to "abode or dwelling or fixed place of business." In other words, under the terms of the bill as introduced, it added one's "dwelling" to the mix. What's the difference between an "abode" and a "dwelling"? Apparently, case law brings up some question as to whether one's hotel room, or tent, etc. is an "abode," so adding "dwelling" to the permitted places was intended to clarify that. That's all the originally introduced bill would do.
In March, Rep. Bradley introduced House Amendment 1, which minutely (but importantly) expanded on the original language of the bill, by adding "or a legal dwelling or place where he or she is an invitee therein." Yep--currently in Illinois, one could, technically, be arrested for having a gun at a firearm aficionado friend's house, when invited over to compare guns. The amendment (which was adopted, with the bill then easily passing in the House) was intended to fix that glaring problem. That, apparently, was what got the ICHV and ICPGV choking on their kiwi-tofu burgers. I quoted ICHV last week; here is what ICPGV said:
5/14/09 – Gun Lobby Attempt to Pass Bill Allowing Open and Concealed Carry in Illinois Amended and Held in Committee"Dangerous and extreme"--good grief. Apparently, their concern (ostensibly, anyway) is that it could allow carry in public places. Ignoring for the moment, the question of "what the hell is wrong with that?" I think their interpretation is quite a stretch. I am, however, the farthest thing in the world from an authority on law and the analysis of the arcane niceties of legalese, so I am willing to concede that their interpretation might be correct (but not their fear of that interpretation).
ICPGV is closely following HB 182, a bill which, as previously amended in the House, would have allowed a person to carry or possess a firearm on or about his or her person in any legal dwelling or any place where he or she is an “invitee.” A person is an invitee in any place that he or she enters for a purpose connected to the property owner’s business or other activity permitted on the premises. For example, Illinois courts have decided that customers of businesses and restaurants, spectators at sporting events, job applicants, and babysitters are invitees. In short, this version of the bill would have allowed concealed carry in Illinois without any permitting system or law enforcement discretion. Only two other states, Alaska and Vermont, have laws that are as lax as what this version of HB 182 proposed.
Last Tuesday, Senator Don Harmon amended this dangerous and extreme bill, removing the language that would allow “invitees” to carry firearms. The bill is currently being held in Executive Committee.
Senator Don Harmon--no friend to Illinois gun owners--introduced a Senate amendment (actually two of them, but the second was just intended to cover something he forgot with the first) that would basically cancel out Bradley's amendment--meaning you could still be arrested for having a gun at a friend's house.
Apparently, though, Harmon's reason for filing that amendment was that he had bought into ICPGV's interpretation--that the House version would allow carrying in public businesses, etc. Even as unfriendly to gun rights as Sen. Harmon is, he apparently doesn't really object to people carrying at a friend's house, with the friend's permission. He therefore introduced a third Senate amendment. Now permitted places would be one's "abode, legal dwelling, or fixed place of business, or on the land or in the legal dwelling of another person as an invitee with that person's permission."
That should make everyone happy, right? Um . . . nope.
This week, HB 182 was amended again to allow a person to carry or possess a firearm, concealed or openly, on the land or in the legal dwelling of another person as an “invitee” with that person's “permission.” The bill passed out of the Senate and will now go back to the House Floor for a vote on the new amendment.Here's the lunatics' "fact" sheet (pdf file).
Bottom line, as amended, HB 182 would remove an important tool law enforcement currently has to protect the public from a threatening or suspicious person who is armed. Under HB 182, before arresting a person for unlawful possession, law enforcement would have to make a complex determination based on a vague standard. Law enforcement would have to determine whether the armed person is an "invitee", determine who owns the land or dwelling, discover the whereabouts of the owner, and decide whether the owner gave permission for the suspicious person to carry a concealed weapon on the premises.
They urge their fellow pantywaists to call their Representatives urging opposition to the bill. I suggest Illinoisans call urging for support. Since the House already passed (by a commanding 72-45 margin) an arguably more permissive version, I think it should pass easily, ICPGV's hysteria mongering notwithstanding, but this being Illinois, it's best not to make any assumptions.