It's no secret that many Illinois legislators--particularly Chicago area Democrats--are opposed to private gun ownership in general, and handgun ownership in particular. There are enough hunters in the state, though, that going after all guns is difficult, so many of the proposed anti-gun bills tend to deal with handguns, and (supposedly, anyway) leave long guns alone.
I have, in the past, though, noted that sometimes the language they use is rather vague, and I suspect there's a reason for that. Take, for example, a bill (thankfully defeated) from 2007, that would have imposed draconian new state licensing requirements (over and above the draconian federal licensing requirements) on handgun dealers--or maybe more than handgun dealers.
Partly to save the what might be the most dramatically, insidiously evil part for last, and partly because it only now finally occurred to me, I will now point out what might be worse yet. I had assumed that this bill was all about handguns (the title, after all, is the Handgun Dealer Licensing Act), but in the actual text of the bill, "handgun dealer" is defined as someone engaged in the business of selling concealable firearms--after the title section, no more mention is made of handguns--it's all about "concealable firearms." What they don't define, however, is what, exactly, constitutes a "concealable firearm"--people have concealed AK-47's under trench coats or long robes. Come to think of it, back in my days as an artilleryman, we "concealed" entire howitzers under camouflage nets. Is this bill intended to end not just the sale of handguns in the state, but of all guns?With the ongoing attempt this year to revive last year's (by the same
In the full text of HB 180, "handgun dealer" is defined as someone who sells "concealable firearms." In other words, the bill doesn't use the BATFE's definition of "handgun," but considers any "concealable firearm" to be a "handgun." Wearing a big enough trench coat, someone can conceal just about any firearm he can carry. For that matter, back in my paratrooper days as a howitzer crew member, we always erected a big camouflage net to "conceal" the 105mm howitzer. That means that, depending on how fast and loose the courts allow the state to play with the definitions, all gun shops--even those who don't sell handguns--can be forced out of business.All this might seem a bit paranoid, especially to those who have never had Illinois politics inflicted on them, but recently I spotted something on the website of the Illinois Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence (ICPGV) that seems to lend some credence to my suspicions. It's actually about a different anti-gun bill, from my favorite Illinois gun-grabber,
By requiring those who privately sell or transfer concealable firearms, including handguns, to do so at the business of a federally licensed firearm dealer . . .If "concealable firearms" referred exclusively to handguns, there would be no need to say "including handguns." Illinois, by the way, bans civilian possession of short barreled rifles and short barreled shotguns, even for those willing and able to jump through the federal hoops--so those are presumably not an intended target.
I think it's time we view any bill that purports to restrict "concealable firearms" as an attempt to restrict all guns, without saying so.