Whitney Pitcher: Illinois Legislation Attempts to Ram Strict Gun Laws During Lame Duck Session, Update: Victory for Illinois Conservatives

Guest Post by Whitney Pitcher
In writing his "Commonplace Book", Thomas Jefferson quoted the Italian philosopher and legal scholar Cesare Beecaria’s book Of Crime and Punishments:

"Laws that forbid the carrying of arms … disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes. Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed one."

Beccaria very well could have been describing present day Illinois where gun control often means the law abiding are punished for the actions of those who will continue to break gun laws no matter how numerous or restrictive. Despite having some of the most onerous gun laws in the country and currently being the only state in the union without some form of conceal and carry laws, Illinois’ largest city of Chicago had more than 500 homicides in 2012. Gun control is not evil control.

In mid December the US Court of Appeals declared Illinois’ ban on concealed carry unconstitutional and gave the state 180 days to craft " a new gun law that will impose reasonable limitations, consistent with the public safety and the Second Amendment as interpreted in this opinion, on the carrying of guns in public". For anti-gun proponents of Illinois, this judicially imposed deadline,the Chicago violence, the ineffably saddening shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, and a lame duck legislative session have provided the impetus to simultaneously meet the court’s demands while also restricting guns in new ways.

With the lame duck session ending on January 9th, the Illinois legislature is trying to ram through two pieces of legislation that would heavily restrict guns. The NRA’s Institute of Legislative Action notes several aspects of these bills that are particularly draconian:

Among other things, House Bill 815 would:

– Prohibit anyone without a FOID card from using a commercial shooting range, which in many cases would make it impossible to introduce new shooters to the safe and responsible use of firearms.

– Grant the State Police broad discretion to impose design, construction and operation standards that could shut down most commercial shooting ranges.

– Ban possession of magazines and other feeding devices that hold more than ten rounds of ammunition. A "grandfather clause" would require registration by owners of such devices and give the State Police discretion to impose and charge fees. Registration would require "proof of ownership" that could be impossible for most people to provide, and even registered owners could not transfer magazines within Illinois, except to an heir or a licensed dealer. Transfers of "grandfathered magazines" would have to be reported to the ISP.

– Violations of this magazine ban would be a felony. Failure to report theft or loss of a magazine would be a misdemeanor until the third violation, which would be a felony.

House Bill 1263 would:

– Ban, at a minimum, all detachable-magazine semi-automatic rifles and pistols. Remington 7400 deer rifles, Ruger 10/22 squirrel guns, Glocks, 1911s, etc. This ban would include about 80% of handguns now sold in the U.S.

– Possibly ban all semi-automatic rifles and even revolvers or single-shot pistols with the capacity to accept muzzle brakes or compensators.

– Ban "assault weapon attachments," so possession of a thumbhole stock, a pistol grip,or a fore-end (a "shroud" that "partially or completely encircles the barrel") would be a crime even if you didn’t possess a firearm.

– Ban all .50 BMG rifles.

– Contains "grandfather" provisions that would require registration by owners of devices and give the State Police discretion to impose and charge fees. Registration would require "proof of ownership."

– Create felony penalties for violation of this ban on guns or attachments.

– Create lost and stolen penalties that would criminalize victims of gun theft

These bills moved out of the Senate’s public health committee on Wednesday, but have not been voted on in the Senate at this point. However, the Illinois House will discuss an additional gun control bill (SB 2899) and additional amendments when they reconvene Sunday. These overly restrictive bills do not seem to honor the court’s request for "reasonable" legislation. After all, what’s reasonable about disallowing citizens the opportunity to learn how to use a gun safely at a gun range?

Your voice can make a difference. Use your first amendment rights to re-affirm your support for the second. Please call or email your representatives to voice your support for the second amendment and your opposition for even more government impingement on our liberties. You can find contact information for your representative here. As this legislation is being discussed in Springfield and national legislation is being proposed as well, exercising the right to bear arms in Illinois shouldn’t only refer to Michelle Obama’s right to wear sleeveless dresses!

***Update by Steve***

It was announced today that the 97th General Assembly of Illinois will not take on this legislation.  As the State Journal Register of Springfield reports:

A House judiciary committee on Sunday was scheduled to vote on limiting assault weapons. But Rep. Elaine Nekritz, D-Northbrook, the committee’s chair, announced at the start of the meeting the vote was called off.

Although a Senate panel approved the assault weapons ban last week, the Senate adjourned Thursday before calling it for a floor vote.

"…The House feels that if the votes aren’t there to pass something between now and late Tuesday in one of the chambers, then there’s no reason for us to act on that as well,” Nekritz said.

Pro-gun advocates cheered following the announcement. However, Nekritz said the issue could come up again during the spring session when new lawmakers take their seats.

The voters of Illinois who got involved; like Whitney who was on top of the issue before the weekend, made a big difference by calling their local representatives.  While this is a temporary victory, we’ll have to keep our eyes open.

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  • amaze830

    If they pass the banning of guns, I hope the people of Illinois will sue the state and take it to the U.S. Surpreme Court, if need be. This is a clear violation of people’s 2nd Amendment.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Suki-Pero/100001668382968 Suki Pero

      Not that I wish bad on the state of Illinois but they are bringing it upon themselves if they put this in place.  I believe we’ll see a Kent State type incident in their future.  The outcome of taking away more guns from citizens will not be good.

    • http://profiles.google.com/sanddog Ms Anonymous

       There is something seriously wrong with a system that forces citizens to hire a lawyer and sue the government for passing unconstitutional laws that abridge their rights.

  • indemind

     Excellent Whitney! …This is why, I still call you The Pip… ;-)))

    SarahAmerica- "We Were Lied To" and, "Here’s To Liberty!"

  • Freempg

    One must wonder when the police will stand up to this. Sadly they are often a part of it. The police chiefs of most metropolitan areas are as infected with poltical correctness as the politicians.

    • lanahi

      Police do not necessarily want private citizens to have guns.  They think it is only them that should protect us, even though they know they can’t.  Their recommendation is that citizens should stay out of it and let them handle it.

      • Freempg

        I know, but they are wrong.

        • lanahi

          Certainly they are wrong.

          "When seconds count, the police are just minutes away."  Police deal with the mess after it’s done…they don’t often get there in time to prevent it.

          I’ll bet most policemen have guns for protection at home and have taught their families how to use them.

  • misterlogic0013

    mysteriously some Dems were absent   ..   Illinois news flash for ya /  cut your grass / maintain your roads, don’t worry about my guns.   OB is loosing some key battles, Dems are hitting the wall / it was bound to happen, now we go on offense .. Bob Costa looked shaken up yesterday, or was it me. Silent majority alive and well ..

  • mark1955

    http://barnhardt.biz/ Ann is accompanying every posting of the Lord’s Prayer from now on with an image of a Saint,carrying a Assault Weapon.

      Also whenever possible we have to get the word out particularly among our Family,Friends and Loved ones who might be buying the idea that Obama,the dems and the lamestream have been putting out there erroneously and by design,that Our God Given Second Ammendment Right is about hunting,it is not. Our God Given Second Ammendment Right is Meant to be the last Defense against a tyranical government like we have Right now.

      Finally,many of our Firearms owning Hunting friends,who have firearms solely for hunting purposes and not self-defense and to stop a tyrannical government like me and many other’s own our Firearms for,are perfectly happy with what some of the changes are ,in what little has actually been leaked, about Feinstein’s Assault Weapon’s Ban Bill. They are under the mistaken impression,that even though Obama and company might say now that they have no intention of ever taking away their 3 round Bolt Action deer rifles, that they are safe from further government regulations and have no reason to Fight this Bill…Wrong!     http://www.southwestiowanews.com/council_bluffs/news/grassley-gun-control-should-include-other-weapons/article_5737b43c-4a48-11e2-b7cc-0019bb2963f4.html    That’s from republican Chuck Grassley. He opened is mouth before he was suppsed and leaked out the end game for the so-called "Elites". They not only would like to take away all of our Firearms,but also would like to take away our knives and other tools. So you people who own Firearms strictly to Hunt and think they are not coming for your Deer Rifles think again and stand up with your fellow Firearms owners against this unconstitutional piece of legislation now when where strong and can present a United front,because make no mistake…Your Next!

  • Patriot41

    At a time when our security agencies have alerted the citizens of this country, of a high possibility of further terrorist attacks in this nation, these idiots are trying to disarm innocent civilians.  Illinois is a State with extremely high financial debts and cannot even continue to provide adequate law enforcement for their citizens, yet they want to disarm private citizens whose safety is in serious want.  This is a State with a serious crime rate that they have been unable to control and in the process, they are trying to turn innocent citizens into criminals for trying to protect themselves.  One wonders if they have lost all common sense, if they had any to begin with?

    There is but one way to fight crime and that is with equal force.  If the State cannot provide adequate law enforcement, then it needs to turn to those citizens who are armed and use them as deputies to take down the criminal element.  They also have a national guard that can be very effective in dealing with violent criminals.  The object should not be to disarm the public, but to disarm the criminals and enforce the laws of the land.

  • TangledThorns

    Remember, only one madman with a rifle killed 27 people. If we continue to allow our 2A rights to be infringed then we’re just asking for a mad man in a tyrannical position of power that can cause the deaths of thousands if not millions. 

  • http://www.twitter.com/whitneypitcher Whitney Pitcher

    Some good, but likely temporary news. It doesn’t look like they are ultimately going to bring this up for a vote or for discussion during the lame duck session:

  • Par4Course

    The idiots in the Illinois General Assembly are among the worst legislators in the nation.  The 7th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals recently held that Illinois cannot continue its outright ban on concealed carrying of weapons – the only state in America to have such a ban.  Instead of getting a clue that disarming the populace leads to MORE crime not less, these geniuses want to impose more restrictions on law abiding citizens being able to own guns for self-protection.  There is no question that criminal knowledge of the anti-gun laws is part of the reason for Chicago having the highest murder rate in the country.  But the White House and its followers are on the same know-nothing track to control guns in order to avoid another Newtown massacre – a path that will grow government and restrict individual rights – while doing nothing to prevent such killings.  While we’ve never had any interest in having a weapon, my wife and I are considering taking classes and buying a gun while we still can.

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