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Update on Two Illinois Anti-Gun Bills

Friday, March 6, 2009

House Bill 48, which would require virtually all handgun transfers to be processed through a federally licensed firearm dealer, remains the most pressing threat in the Illinois General Assembly.  This bill, introduced by anti-gun State Representative Harry Osterman (D-14), has already passed committee and could be taken up on the floor of the House at any time.  Please continue contacting your State Representative and urge them to oppose this attack on the Second Amendment.  Their contact information can be found here.

Also posing a threat to law-abiding gun owners is House Bill 845, introduced by anti-gun State Representative Edward Acevedo (D-2).  This legislation should be called the “Crime Victim Victimization Act,” as it would create penalties for individuals who have had their firearms stolen if they fail to report the theft in an arbitrarily determined time-frame.  If a law-abiding gun owner has a firearm stolen, and fails to report the theft “within 72 hours after obtaining knowledge of” the theft, HB 845 would add insult to injury by allowing the crime victim to be charged with committing a petty offense.  A second “offense” could lead to the crime victim losing his or her Firearm Owner’s Identification (FOID) card, thus losing his or her right to own ANY firearms.  In other words, as a crime victim, you will be treated the same as the criminal who stole your property if you fail to jump through this bureaucratic hoop in what the government considers to be a timely fashion.

Of course, the only people who likely would not report a stolen firearm are those criminals already prohibited from owning them.  They certainly are not going to report such a loss to the police.  Law-abiding citizens, however, will, even if it takes them more than the randomly chosen 72-hour time limit.  After all, a police report will be needed to file an insurance claim, so the law-abiding citizen has enough incentive to report the theft.

In fact, this legislation could very well create an escape clause for real criminals.  Proponents of this type of legislation claim it will help reduce gun trafficking by discouraging so-called “straw purchasers” (who are not prohibited from purchasing a firearm) from transferring or selling a gun to someone who is prohibited from possessing a firearm.  In reality, this legislation would give such "straw purchasers" an ironclad defense against charges of illegal “gun trafficking.”  All one would need to do is report the “theft” of a firearm that has been transferred to a prohibited individual, and if the gun does ever turn up in a crime, the “straw purchaser” can claim it was “stolen” and reported as the law requires.

HB 845 passed out of the House Executive Committee this week, and could be taken up on the floor of the House any day.  Please contact your State Representative and urge them to oppose HB 845.  Their contact information can be found here.

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Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.