On Sunday, March 10, 2019, a pro-Second Amendment Rally was held in Effingham, Illinois, with 1602 people attending. I have never seen a rally this large and enthusiastic outside of IGOLD. The rally in Effingham is indicative of what is going on in Illinois outside of Chicago. When HR0101 came up, the resolution to separate Chicago from the rest of the State, the cheers were long and loud. It is not that Downstaters hate the people in Chicago, it is that they hate being ruled by Chicago politicians and their country bumpkin attitude toward the rest of the State.
Chicago has a crime problem that is multiplied by not enforcing the laws already on the books. Instead, Chicago prefers making their crime problem everyone else’s problem. One of the obvious ways they do that is by trying to inflict Chicago Style Gun Control on everyone else in the state. Those same people promote their own hoplophobia neuroses about firearms, trying to make it the new normal. They try to make everyone afraid of firearms.
Chicago exports many of their crime problems to other parts of the state. If you live in cities, villages or a town outside of Chicago, you have probably noticed your community has changed. The municipalities along the interstates are most affected. I live in an area that actually has a name for it, known as the I-55/I-57 effect. I live right between the two interstates; the City is exporting less desirable people into downstate Illinois.
Now back to the rallies. The ISRA will be scheduling more rallies around the state. If one is held near you please try to attend and bring someone with you. I have often mentioned this is going to be a long and expensive fight. We need more people on our side. Please ask everyone you know to join the Illinois State Rifle Association.
Congratulations to the people of Kentucky. The Kentucky Governor just signed into law Constitutional Carry for those over 21 with no criminal record. If you wish to leave the state you can get a permit. Kentucky is the 16th state to pass Constitutional Carry.
When any event happens where lives are lost, we all wonder what happened, could this have been prevented, who didn’t do their job, was the system at fault and a variety of immediately unanswerable questions. Such was the case in the Aurora shooting a few weeks ago. Answers to these situations are complicated and don’t pop up like your morning toast.
Many immediately blamed the Illinois State Police for not doing a proper background check. That seemed unlikely since every FOID card holder goes through a background check every night except for a few holidays. The Aurora shooter had gone through many background checks, along with other FOID card holders, and nothing ever came up. The FBI began investigating. A letter dated February 28, 2019, to Christopher Wray, Director of the FBI, was signed by Senators Durban and Duckworth, as well as by Congressmen Foster and Underwood. The letter explains that the FBI inquiry discovered that either Mississippi law enforcement or the Mississippi court system failed to report the arrest or the conviction of the Aurora shooter to the FBI for inclusion in the Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) data base. That is the reason why the ISP could not find the information on the shooter, it wasn’t ever there.
The Gun Sanctuary movement is getting more traction across the country. In New Mexico, the sheriffs in half the counties are refusing to enforce the unconstitutional draconian gun laws. This has caused the anti-gun Governor of New Mexico, Michelle Lujan Grisham, to throw a Facebook hissy fit. Too bad. Similar movements are reported in Oregon, Nevada, Delaware, Maryland and Washington State. Hopefully, this will deepen in the states where the movement is now and spread across the country to every state. There needs to be a huge backlash culminating around the time of the 2020 elections.
One of the more popular classes the ISRA sponsors is the M1 Maintenance Class. There are a lot of these historic rifles out there and people love them. I am pleased to announce that on April 13th, 2019, we will again offer this class. These rifles, with blank adapters, are used in thousands of Military funerals each day. There will be a section on rifles with blank adapters included in this class. Space is limited. Please check the ISRA website or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the heat of all the anti-gun activity in Springfield, it is important to remember the Illinois State Rifle Association is moving forward on the litigation front. I am pleased to announce the suit against Cook County and their so-called assault weapons ban is again moving forward. The case known as Wilson v Cook County will be argued before the Seventh Circuit on April 4th, 2019. For those who might not recall, the Seventh Circuit is a Federal Court with the next stop being the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS).
Actor and personal acquaintance R. Lee Ermey was snubbed by the Oscars in their Memoriam Segment on Sunday night. R. Lee Ermey started his movie career in “Apocalypse Now” and went on to star in “Full Metal Jacket” and appeared in several other films. Ermey had a couple of TV shows, “Mail Call” and “Lock n’ Load”. Ermey was a dedicated NRA Board Member. R. Lee Ermey died in April, 2018 and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery. He was 100% Pro-American which is probably why Hollywood passed him over.
One of the expected outcomes of the Aurora shooting was that someone would propose that every FOID card applicant and FOID card holder be fingerprinted. Sure enough, habitual anti-gunner Kathleen Willis (D-77 Chicago) proposed the idea. There is not a bill at this writing but I am sure there is one in the works. The ISRA opposes this idea on its face because it clearly is an out-and-out attack on the Second Amendment, a fundamental right. Moreover, the costs to individual gun owners would be staggering. There are, in round numbers, 2,260,000 FOID card holders in the state. Now the estimated fingerprint cost to the FOID card holder is between $100-$120. If we use the $110 amount, that would be $110 X 2,260,000=$248,600,000. That is nearly a quarter billion dollars, not including the hidden costs, to exercise a fundamental right. I don’t think so.
Then we would have the costs of staffing for the Illinois State Police, space allocations, equipment costs and who knows what else.
Any proposed legislation is more likely to attack law-abiding gun owners rather than fix the problem. For some legislators, their real goal is to attack law-abiding citizens, using this event an excuse. We must all remember that the criminal is the cause, not some data entry person that missed a key stroke. The other thing we need to remember is that this was a Gun Free Zone. The only thing a Gun Free Zone does is make the criminal safer. The laws we have on the books are more than adequate, what we need to do is enforce them. On Monday, in USA Today, Willis said it doesn’t do us any good to tighten up our (gun) laws if we are not following through to make sure they are enforced. Yet, she is more than willing to push the fingerprint idea.
FOID card holders go through a background check every night with the exception of Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s, Easter and the 4th of July. The shooter’s record was passed over again and again in the National Instant Check System (NICS). The Illinois State Police finds many things on those background checks but never this guy’s record? Maybe there was an error in coding his record in the NICS or maybe there was a corrupted file and no one caught it. The point is that we don’t know but we should find out before we go forward with Legislation that does nothing but attack law-abiding gun owners.
To say the FOID card system doesn’t work is a mistake. There are about 10,800 FOID cards revoked in a year. Of these, 2500 are revoked for mental health reasons. Others are revoked because people move away or pass away, the rest are revoked for cause. The FOID card system is not liked by many but it is here to stay, I think. Prior to 2014, the FOID card system was understaffed so people were waiting months to get a FOID card instead of the required 30 days. In my opinion, Governor Quinn, who did not like guns or gun owners, deliberately understaffed and underfunded the system to make it tough on gun owners. At one time, the staff was only at 45% of what was required to operate the FOID Division. The computer system was so old there were only a few people who could work on it. The old computers used FORTRAN if anyone remembers that long ago.
Things did not improve until 2014 when money from concealed carry licenses funded a new system. The new system was being put in place at the very time the Aurora shooter was applying for his FOID card. I don’t know if the stress of the time played a part in this situation but it could have. If the FOID system had been funded all along this might never have happened.
As I write this, no bills are moving in Springfield. This could change quickly. The $15.00 minimum wage bill is a good example. It only took six legislative days to put that bill on the Governor’s desk, start to finish. That is why the ISRA is in Springfield all the time.
Last month, Bill Potts and I were at the Bloomington Gun Show. We gave four legislative updates. Mary Mills and Laura Hack were there from our office to answer FOID and Concealed Carry renewal questions. For those who don’t know, the ISRA will help those members, at no charge, who are having to renew either their FOID or ICCL. Thanks for all those who attended. The turnout was great.
All of this takes a great deal of money and members. I want to thank all those who are members, all those who have recently joined and all of you that will join. It is important to remember that the anti-gun crowd and the politicians who push their platform are not going to go away, and neither are we. It is important to join and renew your membership so that we can stay in the fight. Recently, people have been becoming life members or upgrading their memberships. That is great although I understand not everyone can to do that. I appreciate all of your support.
Become a member at www.ISRA.org