Gun control supporters in the Illinois Democratic party talked a pretty good game for the most part at the Illinois House Judiciary hearing earlier this week on guns, but in a closed door meeting yesterday, they were set straight as to the reality of things.
Here’s what was said publicly Tuesday, as reported by Rich Miller’s Capitol Fax:
Prosecutors in Chicago are telling state lawmakers they can essentially ignore a federal court ruling and not legalize concealed carry in Illinois.
The Illinois House on Tuesday held the first of two statewide hearings on how to legally allow people to carry a gun in the state. Illinois is the only state in the nation that bars anyone from carrying a pistol outside their home. In December, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals said Illinois must change that.
But Paul Castiglione, policy director for the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office, told lawmakers there is no need for a new law.
“Only the Illinois Supreme Court can declare a statue from (the legislature) unconstitutional,” Castiglione told lawmakers Tuesday. “I heard (someone) say that after 180 days our UUW (unlawful use of weapon) statute is unconstitutional. Not so.”
Illinois Issues Blog went on to report Alvarez’s office vowing to ignore the Federal Appellate Court order:
“After 180 days, anyone who decided, for example, to walk down Michigan Avenue in Chicago carrying an AK-15 would be subject to arrest and prosecution for violating the [Unlawful Use of Weapons Act,]” said Cook County Assistant State’s Attorney Paul Castiglione. He said the Cook County state’s attorney’s office intends to enforce the Illinois Unlawful Use of Weapons statute, which outlaws carrying guns in public, after the deadline, unless lawmakers change it or the Illinois Supreme Court finds it unconstitutional. “The lower federal courts, either the district courts or the courts of appeal, cannot tell the Illinois Supreme court how to rule or whether or not that law is constitutional. The only court that can resolve that split is the U.S. Supreme Court.”
Of course, Chicago is a place for unicorns, mermaids and make-believe.
House Democrats were given a lesson in the real-world consequences of ignoring the Seventh Circuit ruling when the 180-day stay expires on June 8th.
The technical review staff (legal beagles) told the Democrats that Alvarez was all wet in her office’s pronouncement and that inaction on passing a carry bill would have dire consequences for gun control in Illinois.
Specifically, House Democrats were told that Illinois would effectively have “Constitutional Carry” where anyone who was eligible to own guns could carry them freely in public without training, licensing, qualification and precious little in the way of restriction.
After a lot of back and forth, one Chicago Representative asked if someone could carry a loaded rifle into the Statehouse. He was told “Yes”.
It was reported that you could hear a pin drop for an uncomfortably long time after that as a stunned silence came over the room.
The bottom line is that non-ideologues on the gun issue have seen the wisdom of voting for a carry bill that affords the state at least some control in the time, place and manner in which Illinois residents, and indeed non-residents, can carry firearms in Illinois.
Of course, there are a handful of die-hards who will never vote for a bill that would allow Illinoisans any firearm rights. But then again, there were no shortage of politicians who opposed Civil Rights legislation of fifty years ago to their dying day. And there were no shortage of politicians who opposed women’s suffrage, either.
Today, we recognize how foolish and bigoted those politicians were in opposing these basic civil rights.