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, May 01, 2008

They passed what?

Regular readers (both of you) will have noticed by now that a perennial topic on this blog is the endless folly of the Illinois Politburo General Assembly, in pursuing its citizen disarmament agenda. I had come to believe that I had become more or less immune to surprise at the depth of that folly. Shows what I know.

Enter HB 5191, passed in the House yesterday, by a margin of seventy-four to thirty-six. The intent of this bill, presumably, is to spur parents and guardians to keep their firearms away from their offspring who have shown themselves to be dangerously mentally ill or inclined to violent crime. A laudable goal, certainly, but how to go about it? Well, Illinois--where shall not be infringed doesn't mean, apparently, what an understanding of the English language would lead one to expect it to mean--requires a Firearm Owners Identification (FOID) card to legally possess a firearm (or even to touch a firearm at a gun shop or gun show), or a single round of ammunition. This card is issued (or not) by the state police, and by revoking it (or refusing to issue it) a person is barred from owning firearms.

HB 5191 would take advantage of the FOID system, by revoking the FOID cards of parents or guardians who fail to secure their firearms from their dangerous offspring. OK so far--at least if one is willing to overlook the blatant contradiction of requiring government permission to exercise a Constitutionally guaranteed fundamental human right. The real problem comes in the wording of the bill--here's an excerpt, regarding whom would be subject to FOID card revocation:

(b-5) A parent or guardian of a person under 21 years of age who is unable to prevent his or her child under 21 years of
age from gaining access to a firearm or ammunition, or both,
when (1) the child upon 2 occasions has had possession of his
or her parent or guardian's firearm or ammunition, or both,
without the parent or guardian's permission as evidenced
through documentation in any arrest record, Department of
Children and Family Services investigation, school record,
juvenile court record, or other public record, and (2) the
child met the criteria for severe or major mood disorder or
severe conduct disorder (evidenced by behavior such as forced
sex, physical cruelty, use of a weapon, stealing while
confronting a victim, breaking and entering), or both, as
defined in the DSM-IV-TR published by the American Psychiatric
Association, or the child is an adjudicated delinquent minor
for acts involving aggressive or violent behavior; (emphasis mine)
Now wait a second--you mean if the parent does not give the "child" (who might be twenty years old) permission to get the gun, and the kid does so anyway, the parent loses his ability to legally own guns, but if he or she had given permission, there are no consequences? Setting aside the issue of holding the owner of a gun responsible for what someone else does with the gun, isn't that kind of, um . . . backward? Would such a law not provide the parent or guardian an incentive to give his or her dangerous offspring permission to handle the gun, and is that not directly in opposition to the ostensible intent of the bill? By the way, how does one prove that the parent denied permission?

I also notice that no provision is made for considering how much effort was made to prevent access. As the bill is written, the gun (or as little as a single round of ammunition) could have been in a safe so stout that the young troublemaker had to use explosives to get into it, but the parent would still be held liable.

This bill goes to the Senate next. Illinois gun owners might suggest to their senators that it would be a good idea to avoid whatever it is that seventy-four members of the House were smoking yesterday.


Mike said...

Jeeze. Why don't they just make shooting people* illegal? That would solve everything! (picture a nausea-inducing eyeroll here)

*except in self-defense, of course.

Don said...

I don't quite get it. Illinois already has a "safe storage" or "child access" law. At first glance, it seems stricter than this one--it only requires one incident, if I recall correctly.
Your tax dollars at work.

Kurt '45superman' Hofmann said...

Your tax dollars at work.

But that's not what I ordered!