State Sen. Donne Trotter, D-Chicago, listens as the pension reform plan is presented to the Senate Executive Committee Wednesday, May 30, 2012 at the Illinois State Capitol in Springfield. (MICHAEL TERCHA/Chicago Tribune)


Introduction by John Boch

Senator Trotter made a mistake forgetting about a gun in his carry-on.  Yeah, he gamed the system a little bit.  The gun in his carry-on was an oversight that frankly, could happen to any of us.

But Anita Alvarez let him sit in the can for 30-hours after his arrest.

You think that’s gonna engender a lot of love for Anita’s legislative efforts on guns, now that he’s tasted what the average Joe sometimes gets to endure?

Sure, he’s been anti-gun in the past.

Today, in his new district, he’s “moderated” his position – in part because his district is a good deal more conservative that it used to be AND because of grassroots pro-gun activists holding his feet to the fire. 

If voters holding his feet to the fire gets us another pro-right-to-carry vote (and a vote to over-ride Quinn’s amendatory veto to ban America’s favorite rifle), then by golly, chill out folks.  That’s a win.

Let’s not cannibalize an ally here.

Todd Vandermyde writes a very interesting piece.  You don’t have to agree with him, but you would be wise to respect his analysis.




by Todd Vandermyde

Mr. Vandermyde is the NRA’s political point man in Springfield.

Reprinted with permission.


Yesterday, Senator Donnie Trotter was arrested for possessing a handgun in his carry-on bag when trying to board an airplane at O’Hare airport.

Some have tried to jump on a bandwagon of trying to dance in the misfortune of Senator Trotter’s inadvertent mistake. And that is what this appears to be, a simple mistake. The inattention to detail to realize that his bag contained a firearm and he was about to go through security at an airport.

It is a “crime” of possession, having it in his control at the wrong time at the wrong place. And like I said a mistake. I don’t think that Senator Trotter, nor the flight attendant should have their lives and carriers ruined for a mistake. Neither of these cases was the individual aware of the presence of the firearm. Nor did they have any ill intentions. They were not associated with Al Qaeda nor a street gang. And neither has some sort of lengthy criminal record.Some want to point to the hypocritical nature of Trotter being “caught” with a firearm despite is past voting record. The Sun-Timeseven went back to 1995 to dredge up his opposition to a concealed carry bill. People change positions on issues over time. Is votes in the past don’t reflect the conversations we have had over the last two years. Just this past week, Senator Trotter joined with 48 of his colleagues to override the Governor’s veto of a bill to allow the mail order sale of ammunition by Illinois retailers to Illinois residents.His new district runs from the South side of Chicago, to Kankakee, with changing boundaries, come changing constituents with different perspectives. Senator Trotter has maintained an open mind and we have always been able to talk. And we continue to do so.

Out of state groups who never spend any time working the halls of the Capitol would do well to learn the whole record rather than issue knee jerk press releases reveling in the misfortune of an otherwise law abiding gun owner. Minorities and women are the fastest growing demographic in new gun owners. Gun owners would do well to continue to reach out to this growing group, not drive them away by snotty press releases.

The real lesson of this is the lack of any semblance of compassion in the criminal justice system. We have laws for reasons, but justice for the sake of being punitive is not justice. What is absolutely appalling is the lack of any reasonableness in evaluating the situation and the circumstances around it. Instead we have a notorious anti-gun states attorney, who due to her own ineptness, can’t look past the totality of the situation in these cases, the flight attendant or Senator Trotter, and see that justice is not being done. Instead she clings to her disdain for firearms and people who would own them or even want to carry one for self protection. At a time when other states’ attorneys are publicly announcing that they will not prosecute people with FOID cards and no evil motives from carrying a firearm for self defense, we have Anita Alverez who wants to make an example out of people who make a mistake.

What is really glaring is the lack of proportion. Ms. Alverez was the COS under Dick Devine who in prosecuting Tyrus McCants for gun running, the illegal transfer of 3 or more firearms racked up the whopping sentence of 18 months probation on what is a class 1 felony – for supplying firearms on the streets of Chicago.

Yet Senator Trotter and a flight attendant should be made out as felons for a simple mistake, facing 1 to 3 years and a host of fines and legal costs. Which should offend our sensibilities more; the lack of common sense in the prosecution of these cases, or the inattention to detail that led to these charges?

Donnie Trotter will have spent almost 36 hours in detainment for his mistake. He now gets to go through the meat grinder many law abiding gun owners face. TSA shows they have about 1500 of these a year. He also gets to see the Cook County criminal justice system up close and personal as a person who had a legal firearm, a FOID and even a PERC card. He faces a smear of his reputation and achievements for this event. I would rather have someone who has tasted that for a mistake as an ally.

Donnie Trotter is a friend. But I know that but for the grace of God, in my haste on a trip someday, I could be sitting where he is today. And I would want the same opportunity not to have my life ruined because I made a mistake.

That’s why I will give Donnie Trotter and the flight attendant the benefit of the doubt and won’t pile on.

15 thoughts on “Don’t be so quick to castigate Senator Trotter”
  1. I don’t know. Todd makes a good point, but we have heard the words potential, maybe, if, will & some other connotations for far, far in the future for a long time. Maybe he will be an ally, maybe not. That really should not change the outcome.
    I think Mr. Trotter should in fact experience the full, effects of the system as anyone else would. I too hate to see someone’s life ruined for a simple mistake, including mine but they would not care if it were me or any other IL commoner resident. I believe the laws are well, stupid, but I don’t believe in a pass because you are a part of the cartel either. That has been, and is one of Chicago’s/Illinois’ problems and maybe a small part of the reason the laws have not been changed.
    This apparently, is the one time he was caught in a mistake. Probably not the only time he has been concealed. Maybe Mr.Trotter should work to make it legal before he carries just like the rest of us have to.

  2. Come ON. The spin his lawyer has released to the media is that he had “just finished” working his “other” job as a “security guard” and inadvertently left the sub-compact .25ACP (?!) in packed luggage.

    Does anyone with any sense (which excludes the MSM, of course, and non-gun-owner Joe Sixpack) actually BELIEVE this?

    It strains credibility, and I submit that it is total BS.

    Which brings us to the point: Trotter thinks (as do all statist creatures) that he is ENTITLED to “privileges” that the rest of us are not.

    I say that the GOA and CCRKBA should mount a high-visibility campaign to hold Trotter’s (and the system’s) feet to the fire, and make him PAY in front of God and everybody.

    Revenge? Perhaps. But nothing corrects arrogance like a good kick in the butt.

  3. I can only say I never use the same bag for airline carry-on as I do for going to the range. I make sure there is nothing in my carry-on that will create a problem. Had I made the kind of “mistake” Mr. Trotter made, I’d have been jailed and lost my gun rights. I don’t see why the same law that would do that to me shouldn’t apply to him as well.

  4. I have worked security, when relieved my hand gun is returned to the gun safe. NO Slack for State Sen. Donne Trotter, D-Chicago.

  5. Don’t worry, he is above the law. By the time this is over all charges will be dropped and he will be free to carry on his hypocracy. Whar a discrace.

  6. The real problem is this: THERE IS NO PROVISION FOR GRACE IN THE LAW! the law is the law period!

  7. There’s a big difference between justice & the rule of law.
    Unfortunately the latter appears to trump the former these days, to the detriment of everyone except the lawyers on both sides.
    Trotter should be treated no better or worse than an average Joe in the same situation & that way he will be all the more likely to see why the Law is indeed an ass.

  8. If Mr. Vandermyde is correct in assuming that Trotter did in fact forget to remove his pistol, then an allowance needs to be made. But, how many times has Trotter carried his handgun in a handbag as he leaves work? I submit the answer is all the time! Therefore,,being aware of airline firearms regulations Trotter most likely did know his pistol was in his carry-on bag. Is he that forgetful to not remember this strict airline regulation? I doubt it. It will be hard to prove he forgot, so either he will be convicted or the authorities will let this incident slide by.

  9. I own a lot more guns than one pistol and I know where every one is at all times.Forget that one is in my carry on??? I don’t think so. Hang him!!!!

  10. I don’t know. IF he’s changed his position on personal self protection, that’s a plus. I own belief is that he considers himself to be more equal than the other animals & his personal protection is so much more important than than ours. If his voting record changes I’ll rejioce but I don’t think it wiil.
    Oh & his “Other” job, HAH

  11. A “security guard” with only a .25 caliber pistol? A state senator with a “second job”? Also I did not know that Chicago’s laws exempted politicitions (I am not one so I don,t know how to spell it).

  12. Lock him up he’d have it done to you if you did what he did.He’s your everyday do as I say not as I do politician who thinks it’s his right to protect himself but the average Joe is fair game for the any thug they run across. No double standard he could have supported a carry law he didn’t.

  13. If the gods were just he would be convicted of a felony, lose his rights to own guns and lose his job as a senator. He is a an anti-gun hypocrite so it is karma that he falls due to a federal gun law.

  14. the 2 nd amendment should prevail even in his case….but…a politician that has a different district suddenly changes his strips…IMHO..that dog don’t hunt and can not be trusted…the old saying..what goes around, comes around…

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