Gun owners have their work cut out for them here in the deep blue state of Illinois. Democrats have super-majorities in both the House and Senate and Governor J.B. Pritzker hasn’t met a gun control measure he opposes.
A particularly bad gun control bill, SB-1966, awaited a vote in the veto session. It had lots of powerful people behind it too. All summer long, big gun control groups lobbied relentlessly to muster to votes to pass it.
Sensing a close vote, Land of Lincoln gun owners turned out in a mini-Illinois Gun Owners Lobby Day to make their voices heard and kill the bill.
If passed into law, SB-1966 would quadruple the fees for a Firearm Owner Identification card. Also, it would require state-issued identification and expensive electronic fingerprints to merely apply for a FOID card or a renewal. What’s more, it would end private gun sales in the state and make it a felony to lose a single record on a private gun sale in the past.
Guns Save Life promoted the event heavily and easily half of those present were GSL members and meeting regulars from GSL’s seven regions across the state. The Illinois Gun Owners Together group also sent a large number of people as evidenced by the plentiful IGOT shirts.
What’s more, the good guys and gals outnumbered the Moms Demand Action contingent by about 20 to 1.
Interestingly, there were almost as many men “Moms” as women.
The good news from Tuesday: We effectively killed SB-1966. Without the votes to pass it, the sponsors won’t call it for a vote.
Nevertheless, it remains active, like a ticking time bomb, and could be called at any time until the end of the session in January 2021.
The bad news? Once January rolls around, the men and women of Bloomberg-financed Moms Demand Action will return and, under the Prairie State’s convoluted legislative rules, the bill will only require a simple majority for passage. From there, as it has already been approved in the House, it would go to the governor.
The event kicked off with a legislative update and an outline of goals for the event. The ISRA‘s Bill Potts gave a crash course in how to lobby legislators.
As they talked about lobbying, everyone present got a first-hand look at how successfully Illinois government runs: they apparently can’t even afford to turn on all of the lights.
From there, we took off and saturated the capitol building, meeting up with legislators and policy-makers.
Gun owners hooked up with legislators – friendly, fence-sitters (squishies, as we call them) and the not-so-friendly. Above, Rep. Allen Skillicorn held court with an office chock full of gun owners. Check out that sign on his desk…
Rep. Skillicorn hides his position on guns, taxes and jobs pretty aggressively.
Above, another of the good guys in Illinois government (and friend of GSL), Representative Tom Bennett, speaks to visitors.
Yes, the gun owners no doubt triggered a few of the more delicate snowflakes in Springfield. You didn’t have to wonder where people like this man stand when it comes to the right to keep and bear arms.
It should be noted that not all Illinois Democrats share Beto O’Rourke’s “Hell yes! We’re going to take your AR-15” view on guns. In fact, a number of Illinois Democrats, especially those outside of Chicagoland, support gun rights to varying degrees. Word has it that one of those Dems, Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant, did the heavy lifting to help stop the bill’s progress in the Illinois Senate.
The feds help out, too
Two or three months ago, leaders from the gun rights groups believed we might lose the vote on this bill. We weren’t counting on support from federal law enforcement, though. Since the summer, federal corruption and bribery investigations have claimed two certain “yes” votes for gun control in the Senate (and one in the House).
Democrat Senator Marty Sandoval, a close friend and ally of long-time House Speaker Michael Madigan, had his office and home raided by FBI agents in September. He’s not welcome in Springfield currently, and won’t be casting any votes for gun control in the near term.
Just last week, the Dems’ Assistant Majority Leader Rep. Luis Arroyo was arrested on corruption and bribery charges. He won’t be casting any votes in the House anytime soon either. From the Illinois Policy Institute:
State Rep. Luis Arroyo was a key supporter of Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s $45 billion infrastructure package, which was funded in part by a gambling expansion and doubling the state’s gas tax.
Illinois state Rep. Luis Arroyo, D-Chicago, had just finished lunch with a state senator on an August afternoon in Highland Park. They stepped outside to talk.
“Let’s be clear,” Arroyo allegedly told the state senator. “My word is my bond and my, my reputation.”
Federal agents were listening to Arroyo.
The state senator was wearing a wire.
Arroyo was arrested Oct. 25 and charged with bribery of a state official. According to the federal complaint, Arroyo tried to steer $2,500 a month to the unnamed state senator in exchange for backing legislation related to gambling sweepstakes. If convicted, Arroyo faces up to 10 years in prison.
The unnamed state senator to whom Arroyo allegedly floated the payments has been cooperating with investigators since 2016, when the FBI obtained evidence that the senator had submitted false income tax returns, according to the complaint.
The other senator who wore the wire? According to CapitolFax blog, it was Democrat Senate Assistant Majority Leader Sen. Terry Link. He faces his own legal woes and won’t be casting any votes in support of SB-1966 anytime soon either.
As corrupt politicians are removed from office by resignation or by handcuffs, their replacements will come into government and likely have anti-gun positions, too. But for now at least, thanks to the efforts of gun owners and friendly politicians, Prairie State residents won’t have to shell out upwards of $200 and get their fingers inked to get a FOID card so they can exercise their Second Amendment rights.