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Illinois: Three Second Amendment-Related Bills Seeing Action!

Friday, April 15, 2011

The NRA continues to work to build support for House Bill 148, the Right-to-Carry bill introduced by state Representative Brandon Phelps (D-118), and while no new action has been taken on this legislation, a number of other bills saw action this week.

On Tuesday, April 12, House Bill 3499 passed in the House on Third Reading by a 78 to 34 vote. This legislation, introduced by state Representative David Harris (R-66), would exempt anyone who is protected by a plenary or interim order of protection from the waiting period on firearm purchases.  In other words, a victim of domestic violence who has an order of protection against her or his abuser would not have to wait 72 hours before acquiring a handgun—or 24 hours for a long gun—to help ensure that victim has the means to provide for self-defense.  HB 3499 is now in the Senate awaiting further action.

On April 13, House Bill 203 was defeated on the House floor by a 47 to 68 vote. This legislation was a gun-rationing bill introduced by state Representative William Burns (D-26).  HB 203 would have limited law-abiding citizens to purchase one handgun in any thirty-day period.  This legislation initially failed in committee on a number of occasions, but passed after Democrats pulled a pro-gun member off the committee and substituted with an anti-gun legislator. 

Also on Wednesday, House Bill 1855 was “defeated” on the House floor by a 50 to 66 vote.  This bill, introduced by state Representative Edward Acevedo (D-2), would create penalties for individuals who have had their firearms stolen if they fail to report the theft in an arbitrarily determined time-frame.  Under this bill - which should be titled the “Crime Victim Victimization Act” - 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 infringing on his or her right to own ANY firearm.  In other words, as a crime victim, you would be treated the same as the criminal who stole your property if you fail to jump through this bureaucratic hoop in the arbitrary time that the government considers to be a timely fashion.  We say this bill was “defeated” because after the vote was clearly lost, the record of the vote was dumped, and the bill was placed on the Consideration Postponed Calendar.  This is a common tactic used by anti-gun legislators when they think they can revive a defeated bill at a later date.

Please continue to contact your state Representative and urge her or him to support HB 148, and to oppose HB 1855. Also, please contact your state Senator and urge her or him to support HB 3499. To locate your state Representative and state Senator and their contact information, please click here.

Please also continue to take action on the bills we mentioned last week.

Finally, last week we mentioned the Illinois Supreme Court ruling in the case of People v. Holmes that helped clarify what a legal compartment for transporting a firearm was under Illinois law.  That ruling stated that a compartment with a latch, located in the back seat of a vehicle, would satisfy current Illinois standards for lawful transportation.  This ruling also held that a valid Right-to-Carry permit issued by another state would satisfy the requirement under Illinois law that, in order to not be in violation of a particular provision of the aggravated unlawful use of a weapon (AUUW) statute, a person transporting a firearm in a vehicle must possess a valid Firearm Owners Identification (FOID) Card.  It is important to remember that this ruling DOES NOT change the prohibition on carrying a concealed firearm in Illinois, either by those from Illinois or those from another state with a valid RTC permit.  It may not even protect visitors to Illinois from unfair arrests and prosecutions from overzealous police officers and prosecutors, as it is still unclear how this ruling will be handled in areas notoriously hostile towards law-abiding gun owners, such as Chicago.  This ruling should, however, help to protect against unfair convictions, and the NRA will continue to monitor how the ruling is actually implemented.

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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.