Mission statement:

Armed and Safe is a gun rights advocacy blog, with the mission of debunking the "logic" of the enemies of the Constitutionally guaranteed, fundamental human right of the individual to keep and bear arms.

I can be reached at 45superman@gmail.com.You can follow me on Twitter at http://twitter.com/45superman.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Grassroots in action in Illinois

I'll be the first to admit that Illinois is a state in which the Second Amendment tends to be given short shrift by the Politburo . . . er, legislature--for a recent example, look no further than here. Public officials here who count on Illinois gun owners continued tolerance of that disgraceful situation may be in for an unpleasant surprise, though.

First, a bit of background information. Today was a scheduled meeting day for the Illinois House Executive Committee. Of the ten bills on the agenda, seven were, in some form, an attack on gun ownership. Here's a list:

HB 758
would effectively outlaw private firearm sales

HB 4217
would force every county to establish a "gun turn-in" and amnesty program--this is the least onerous of the bunch, but its worthlessness in terms of reducing violence, and the fact that it perpetuates the ridiculous myth that every gun gotten "off the streets" is a life (or more than one) saved is enough to make it offensive

HB 4259 and HB 4349 are basically two versions of the same thing--ammunition encoding that will do nothing but make ammunition more or less unobtainable--but at least it will make some folks rich

HB 4357 would outlaw so-called "assault weapons," .50 caliber rifles and ammunition, and full capacity magazines

HB 4393 is a one-handgun-per-month rationing bill, like Virginia has--so that psychopaths in Illinois would theoretically be limited to no more handguns in a month than the VA Tech punk bought--that worked well, didn't it?

HB 4628
would subject anyone who illegally transfers a firearm to a minor, who then uses that firearm in commission of a felony, to as much prison time as could be given to the actual perpetrator of that felony
Gun owners in Illinois are, not too surprisingly, not at all happy about these bills. In the not-too-distant past, our reaction would probably have been to throw up our hands in disgust and mourn the death of freedom. The times, however, they are a changin'.

This time, my friends at Illinois Carry didn't wait for the bills to get out of committee, and gain momentum that would make them difficult to stop on the House floor (and then the Senate floor). This time, in the days leading up to the committee meetings, we flooded the committe members' offices with phone calls, FAXes, letters, emails--maybe a few carrier pigeons and smoke signals, too. The result? More than a little gratifying, I would say.
Exec Committee has met/ended. No gun control bills were called.

No agenda as yet for next meeting date.

Sec said due to the hundreds of calls received in oppostion, they realize those bills won't go anywhere, so they will not hear them until they feel they have the support.

Keep checking upcoming committee sched.
This, of course, was only the first skirmish in what will certainly be a long, difficult fight--these bills will be back. I hesitated to write this post, because complacency is one of our greatest enemies--if many of the us who made the calls this time think our work is finished, we'll lose. In the end, though, I decided that the lesson from this--that we can, through unified action, force lawmakers to take us seriously, and make a difference in the legislative process--is too important to go untaught.

Illinois lawmakers are starting to realize that the "gun lobby" is made up of their constituents. Let's make sure they don't forget it.

UPDATE: As it turns out, one of the bills, HB 4628, did pass. The others are all on the committee agenda for next Wednesday, the 27th. Stay on those phones.


Anonymous said...

Outstanding work. This is the kind of activism we need in EVERY state. What it usually takes is a couple of strong leaders to take the reigns and get things moving.

There are many, many potential activists in every state that just don't know how to get started.

Every state in the union has at least one gun rights organization. If every one were as strong as the ones in Illinois, Ohio, Virginia and a few others, there'd never be another gun control bill passed anywhere.

At any rate, keep up the good work.

Thirdpower said...

I made my calls. Not that I needed to. Both my Rep and Sen are both strong Pro advocates but it's always good for them to hear from us.

The PuSH'ers will probably use their usual trick of rescheduling the meeting at the last minute and passing anything they want.