Right now, a lot of firearm enthusiasts in Illinois are in a panic, with emails flying around urging immediate action! Illinois legislators are planning to pass a sweeping bill that will outlaw everything you like, from magazines, to pump shotguns, to shooting ranges, and just about anything you personally would dread.
The Czar says Illinois residents should relax. The whole thing is over and done.
It comes as a surprise to many Americans, including Illinois residents, but Illinois is very much a gun state. Yes, of course, it is the last state that has resisted concealed carry, but when the Chicago Democratic machine is subtracted from Illinois politics, it turns out that firearms are super-popular in the Land of Lincoln. This is important to keep in mind as you read this.
Let us pause and look at the facts. In fact, there are two bills, not one.
The first bill, submitted by State Senator Antonio Muñoz (D-Chicago), would outlaw so-called assault weapons. The definition of an assault weapon in the bill would outlaw, according to an NRA spokesperson familiar with the bill, 75% of handguns and 50% of long guns as well as force local ranges to close.
This is not likely to survive the first round of voting, because it would harm Illinois-based Armalite—one of the best and largest rifle manufacturers around. And Armalite has made no bones about this: they are already in talks to leave the state if any more restrictions are passed against their products. While Armalite is the largest firearms manufacturer in the state, most people may not realize that firearms is a half-billion dollar business in Illinois; a bill like this would be a bad blow and kill nearly all of it.
But the bill was submitted to a committee today to see if there were any immediate reasons such a law could theoretically be prevented from reaching the Senate floor. Gun enthusiasts panicked when they heard the proposed bill passed that committee.
Which of course means nothing: the committee merely reviewed the proposal and determined there was nothing on the face of it that would cause it to be dismissed outright. And the bill passed by a 6-4 vote, which is the minimum. Further, immediately after passage, the Senate concluded the bill lacked sufficient support for a vote.
The second bill, submitted by State Senator Dan Kotowski (D-NW Cook County), would limit ammunition magazines to ten rounds or less. A similar bill failed last year; and Kotowski has a streak of bad luck getting gun control bills passed: they all die on the floor. His track record on writing passable legislation is, shall we say, less than stellar. Indeed, his bill passed the committee by the identical 6-4 split, and was also scrapped on the floor of the Senate due to insufficient support.
The bills could be reintroduced later; however, the reason these bills were timed now was to get them through a lame duck legislature. By the time the bills could be reintroduced, the even-more-pro-gun legislature will be in session and passage will be probaly impossible.
The Czar was never concerned by this.
Consider that each year, Illinois’ legislators would vote on concealed carry. Each year, the numbers got so close to passage because more and more of our representatives and senators are pro-gun.
Consider also that the number of shooting ranges in Illinois has about doubled in the last ten years. All ranges are swamped with customers right now, and even the Czar#146;s range has expanded its hours of operation to seven days a week, and reservations are required to use the range; thus reservation system has also expanded from weekends only to all seven days, with an average of 90 minutes’ wait for folks without reservations…and that’s for off-hours.
Also, the overwhelming number of applications for firearm owner identification (FOID) cards has crushed the Illinois State Police staff working on them. Wait-times to receive the coveted card have gone from four weeks to four months. The reality is that Illinois is turning dramatically pro-gun.
The Czar is not ridiculing the NRA, Illinois State Rifle Association, or any of the many organizations who fought these bills and urged people to contact their congresspersons. Indeed, if not for these organizations, the press would likely conceal these bills as much as possible—as they traditionally do each time the state legislature voted on concealed carry. You generally found about it the day after. Surprise.
But the Czar encourages Illinois residents to take a deep breath and relax. These bills are done for.