Another Illinois gun company has bitten the dust, at least in Illinois. Lewis Machine and Tool (LMT) is the brainchild of Karl Lewis and was located in Milan, Illinois since 1980. LMT produces firearms for 45 countries around the world, specializing in high quality firearms for elite units like the British Special Air Services to their latest contract with the Estonian Defense Forces. Those two contracts alone brought $55,000,000 into Illinois. Remember they deal with 43 other countries. I don’t know the value of those contracts but it could be in the hundreds of millions of dollars and beyond. Also remember that most of this money comes from oversees into Illinois – or did. No more. The need for expanded facilities and the relentless bombardment of anti-gun initiatives by the Illinois General Assembly, including burdensome taxes and threats from assorted Illinois Governors, forced LMT to move to the welcoming arms of Eldridge, Iowa. The Illinois General Assembly should get the Economic Development Awards from Iowa, Indiana, Kentucky and Missouri.
HB 2331 – Rita Mayfield (D-Waukegan) has proposed a new sales tax of 3.75% percent on firearms and firearm components. The money is supposed to be used for youth programs. The programs are not specified but my guess is the monies would be shoveled into anti-gun programs.
State Representative Brad Holbrook (R-Shelbyville) filed HR0101 which calls for a study to possibly make Chicago the 51st state. You will find HR0101 on the Bills and Resolutions page on the ilga.gov website. I am hearing HR0101 is gaining traction outside of Chicago.
At this writing there are 64 gun bills the ISRA is tracking with as many as 150 to 200 more expected to come. I know many of you are waiting to file witness slips. The ISRA will not call for witness slips unless we know a bill is going to be heard in Committee. Yesterday, Wednesday, was a good example. In the House Judiciary Committee, 68 bills were posted for hearings and of those, 17 were gun bills. We were told that none would be heard and none were heard.
The State of Illinois uses electronic witness slips. A witness slip that is filed on a bill that is not heard will vanish after the hearing. So, if anyone filed a witness slip on one of the bills posted for Wednesday’s hearing, those are now gone and a new witness slip will have to be filed next time. When the ISRA calls for witness slips, we really need them. We will try to be as accurate as possible.
One of my goals at the SHOT Show was to test the new Glock Models 43X and 48. For a number of years, I have competed in a Glock League so I am very familiar with Glocks and how they operate. If you can operate one model and then get a new model, the learning curve is steep but pretty easy.
Up until recently most Glocks had double stack magazines. The exception to that was the model 36 which is chambered in 45ACP and has been around for several years. It is single stack. The models 42 and 43 that came out a few years ago have single stack magazines and are chambered in .380 and 9mm, respectively. For the record, I have both models. Both models have 6 round magazines. The smaller capacity magazines make them easier to conceal.
There are many people who wanted more magazine capacity but one has to remember that a concealed carry pistol is a series of compromises. Size, power, magazine capacity, caliber, accuracy and ease of handling are all on the table. You don’t always get them the way you would like them so there are choices you have to make.
The most difficult year gun owners have ever faced is about to begin in the General Assembly. I want everyone to understand that the ISRA lobbying team will be doing everything possible to protect your Second Amendment Rights. I know these are troubling times and gun owners are worried and frustrated. There are a few who have called legislators names. That is not helpful. The ones that I know about were not ISRA members but we are still painted with the same brush. When that happens and we try to talk to legislators the name calling becomes the topic and we never get to discuss the bill or issue that we were there to talk about. It simply makes our job more difficult.
I will not mince words. This is going to be a tough year and we need everyone’s help. The Committee hearings will begin very soon and we will need everyone to submit witness slips when needed. We will do our best to keep you apprised of the situation. While it has been gratifying to see the number of new members joining or rejoining the ISRA, we need many more. If you are not a member, become one. If you are a member, please recruit two or three more.
Gun bills are coming like hail stones in a thunderstorm in Springfield. As I write this, there are 44 gun bills, so far, but there will be more. Most anti-gun bills fall into more than one category. Think about these as you read through them. The categories are as follows: Bans on certain firearms or parts, making firearms and ammunition more costly, making firearms burdensome to own or use, making firearms harder to purchase and making firearms socially unacceptable to own. These categories can be further subdivided but we are just generalizing here. Before I give a few examples remember that the target of these laws really is the legitimate firearm owners. None of these laws have little, if any, effect on criminals.
Here are a few examples:
HB 174 – Lost & Stolen Firearms – Penalty: If this bill passes, the firearm owner becomes the victim twice. First, when they get their firearm stolen and then they are punished for not reporting it within 72 hours of discovery. The felony levels increase if it happens more often. The punishment is a class 4 felony which, of course, means that not only will you be punished for the felony, but you will also lose your FOID card. Who will be affected by this? The law abiding gun owner. The criminal who stole the firearm doesn’t care and may be getting a lesser punishment than the victim.
HB 899 – Firearms Owners ID – Revoked: This bill provides that the Department of State Police shall revoke for one year a person’s FOID card if a person reports 3 separate incidents in a 2-year period.
So, isn’t this a dandy situation. Under HB 174, if you don’t report a firearm lost or stolen, you lose your FOID card and under HB 899, if you do report your firearm lost or stolen you lose your FOID card.
The Ammo Tax Bill, SB 121, is another beauty. This bill puts a $.01 tax on every round of ammo that is sold in Illinois. That includes everything, .22’s, shotgun shells and center fire ammunition. The claim is that this will create a Community Mental Health Services Fund. As I have said before, mental health funding is a problem but why is it the gun owners’ responsibility? The State of Illinois created the local problems when they closed Zone Centers years ago and literally left those folks who needed help out in the cold. We now call them the homeless. If anyone thinks the state will reserve this or any other earmarked money for what it was intended, they are smoking dope. Remember the lottery and how it was supposed to fund schools? After a few years that money disappeared into the General Fund and the same will happen to this money. The purpose of this tax is to burden gun owners. The mental health idea is just putting lipstick on a pig.
While at the SHOT Show I sought out the Springfield Armory 911 in .380. Many believe the .380 to be too wimpy of a round but I believe that is no longer true with modern self-defense loads. The question that always arises is would you rather have a 9mm or a .45; the answer is yes, but one has to take other considerations into account like concealability, weight, how you will carry the firearm and who is using it. The Springfield Armory 911 in a .380 is basically a shrunken 1911 and comes with the ergonomics similar to a full sized 1911. Notice I said similar. Recoil management was easy with the little 911. It is light, easy to conceal and I had all A zone hits at 15 yards. I can certainly recommend the Springfield 911 in .380. It is not all that expensive either.
March 2nd – we will have a rally in Quincy at the Eagles Lodge from 10am until 2pm.
See upcoming Events: ISRA Calendar, visit www.isra.org
Please come to IGOLD on Wednesday March 27th in Springfield. Details in article on page 61.