The Illinois General Assembly adjourned this week, and the pro-gun community fared exceptionally well. Several pro-gun bills were sent to Governor Rod Blagojevich (D), and countless anti-gun bills were defeated.
Sent to Governor Blagojevich were: SB 53, which allows for the mail-order sale of ammunition to valid FOID Card holders; SB 57, a watered down gun show bill that also calls for the destruction of the State Police database on lawful firearm purchases; SB 123, which requires that Social Security Numbers no longer be included on hunting licenses; SB 251, which limits the liability a land owner can face if someone is injured while hunting (or involved in hunting-related activities) on the land owner`s property; SB 2103, which makes improvements to the existing range protection law; SB 2104, which sets statewide standards for transporting firearms in vehicles; HB 132, which establishes that the waiting period on firearm transfers starts when an agreement to transfer is made, rather than when a background check is called in; and HB 340, which waives the waiting period requirement when trading one operating firearm for another. Unfortunately, also sent to the Governor was SB 1333. This bill is similar to SB 57, but does not contain the language requiring the destruction of the State Police database on lawful firearm purchases.
Fortunately, anti-gun extremists failed to pass any of the gun show bills they originally called for, which contained language far more restrictive than SB 57 and SB 1333. As is generally the case with these gun banners, though, they tried to present their failures as an actual victory. A recent release by the Brady Campaign (the gun-ban organization formerly known as HCI) tried to make lemonade out of the lemons handed them by the Illinois General Assembly, and also misrepresented NRA`s position. The Brady Campaign, through its anti-gun collaborators in Illinois, the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence (ICHV), were actually promoting HB 794 throughout this session, not the language contained in SB 57 and SB 1333. HB 794 contained far more restrictive language than what actually passed, with the Brady Campaign/ICHV promoting it as a means to close the imaginary Illinois gun show "loophole" these groups have recently been touting.
Even though anti-gun groups have historically admitted there is no gun show "loophole" in Illinois, these extremists seemed desperate to point to any sort of "victory" in the Land of Lincoln, where their agenda was rejected time and time again. Crowing over the passage of a severely watered down gun show bill seems to be the best Brady/ICHV can hope for, at this time. But in an even more desperate move, the Brady release falsely claimed NRA supported the watered down language. In fact, NRA opposed SB 1333, the stand-alone bill, and only supported SB 57 because of the language requiring the database destruction.
NRA has consistently said that there is no gun show "loophole," either in Illinois or anywhere else, and we never supported any language that creates new restrictions for gun shows in Illinois. However, facing the real possibility that a gun show bill in some form could pass (as exhibited by the passage of SB 1333), we did what we could to ensure the language was as benign as possible, and that law-abiding gun owners could benefit in some way. Thus, we ensured SB 57 contained the database destruction requirement.
Just some of the other anti-gun bills the General Assembly either defeated or failed to bring up this year include: SB 219, which sought to make it an offense for failing to report to the State Police the theft of a lawfully owned firearm; SB 317 & SB 1332, one-handgun-a-month restrictions; SB 332 and HB 990, which would have required FFL holders to obtain a dealer license issued by the state; SB 546 and HB 794, the far more restrictive gun show bills the anti gunners were actually promoting; HB 1098, which sought to ban .50 cal. rifles; and HB 2414, which sought to ban certain semi-automatic rifles and shotguns, as well as .50 cal. rifles.
We expect anti-gun organizations to misrepresent the facts. But looking at this scorecard, it`s hard to imagine how the Brady Campaign/ICHV can be very happy with what gun-banners experienced in Springfield this year.