by Jim Butler
President, Sangamon County Rifle Association

Time and time again we see mass murder occur in “gun-free” zones against unarmed and helpless victims.

The senseless, horrific and cowardly attack in Newtown, CT against innocent children defies imagination and we offer our sincere and heartfelt compassion to the victims and their relatives.

Have you noticed that mass shootings at public schools have increased since the 1995 Gun-Free Schools Act was enacted?

While gun-free zones were intended to make schools safer, in reality they have become a magnet for evil psychopaths to do their terrible deeds without meaningful resistance.

Inspired by the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary, Illinois Senate Democrats from Chicago advanced sweeping gun bans on not only semi-autos, but virtually all modern firearms, including your pump-action shotgun.

It was modelled after the national semi-auto ban of 1994.

Ironically, two of the Chicago area leftist Democrats who voted for that 1994 ban have since been sentenced to prison.  So much for law and order, right?

The Illinois Senate bill advanced out of committee on a party-line vote but died as some squishy supporters of the bill were influenced to change their minds after an avalanche of constituent e-mails, phone calls and witness slips poured in to the capitol in opposition to the scheme.

The whole strategy to ban popular, modern semi-auto rifles was formulated by Josh Sugarmann of the Violence Policy Center (VPC) in 1988.

It exploited the fact that the public didn’t know the difference between military guns and their civilian counterparts.

Sugarmann’s strategy paper summarized the issue for the freedom-hating leftist tired of making little headway on banning handguns.  According to Sugarmann, “…menacing looks, coupled with the public’s confusion… …anything that looks like a machine gun is assumed to be a machine gun – can only support the chances of public support for restrictions on these [guns].”

The 1994 semi-auto gun ban was about guns that looked scary to people who didn’t know any better, and was used to ban as many guns as the political climate would allow.

Illinois most recent attempt to ban modern firearms went even further, banning nearly all guns everyday Illinoisans use to defend their homes and families from predatory attack.

Thankfully it failed.  But these same individuals are persistent, so we must be vigilant and active in our work to advance the ideals put forth by our nation’s founders.

How do we do that?

We educate Illinoisans on the truth about guns so we will all be better, smarter citizens who support freedom and liberty and oppose trying to recreate past tyrannies.

Gun bans have no effect on the actions of criminals but penalize law-abiding citizens.  They are built on a campaign of lies and deception – political chest-thumping and deceit at its worst.

It’s up to us to stop them.