by John Boch
GSL Executive Director
Preface: I intended for this to be a video presentation this month. Then the state-wide riots happened beginning on May 29th. Including downstate two days later on the 31st. More on the riots later, but suffice it to say things have been busy.
Around some friends one night a few years ago, I remember how I once commented that I wondered where I’d go when the revolution started and that I hoped I’d be young enough to make a difference.
One of my friends laughed and said, “Don’t worry John. They’ll bring it to you.” Sure enough, they did.
Local anti-gun leftists had already been to my house and poked holes my tires in 2018.
And May 31st through the first few days of June felt like we were on the cusp of some form of civil revolution nationwide – and here in my now-hometown of Bloomington.
Enough of that. Let’s get rolling on the meat of this month’s report:
The General Assembly returned for a couple of days ahead of the Memorial Day holiday. It happened under some bizarre accommodations to practice social distancing. Masks were required and they moved the House chambers to the Bank of Springfield Center (formerly the Prairie Capital Convention Center). Entrance was limited to members and staff. No visitors. No lobbyists. Even press was limited.
Despite a rather big push by Big Gun Control – including articles suggesting that continued violence in Chicago during the “stay at home” order somehow required the legislature to “do something,” gun control lacked the votes to get the Fingerprints for FOID bill through the Senate.
They were trying to push a big rock up a steep hill in the snow and didn’t get far.
What did they pass? A budget $6B out of balance (that’s before a precipitous drop off due to the economic shutdown). They revived a Chicago casino by “restructuring” formerly confiscatory tax rates to only modestly confiscatory rates, and a new law to allow cocktail drinks to go. What could possibly go wrong with that? I’ll go with a water while driving (and carrying).
What didn’t they pass? Gun control, ethics reform, or any action addressing the Governor’s heavy-handed lockdown that has landed Illinois as the most restrictive state in America. And Pritzker has some stiff competition between Michigan, California and New York State!
Initially, the General Assembly was adjourned until after the election. The riots have changed all that.
Expect to see a special session called before long. Dems have proposed spending over $1B that the state does not have on “investing in black communities” that have “historically been ignored.”
This “investment” would come in the form of education, higher ed, business grants, financial assistance like stimulus checks and mortgage and rental assistance.
WHO has ignored these communities? Since 2003, Democrats have controlled the Illinois House, Senate and Governor’s Mansion every year except for the four years of Gov. Bruce Rauner. During this time, Democrats have constantly sponsored legislation to burden Illinois gun owners, too.
Speaker Michael Madigan has held the “Speaker of the House” position for all but two years since 1983.
Want to know something else? Every year, there’s hundreds of millions of dollars in slush fund monies for state-funded projects given to state representatives and senators to spend in their districts. Did you know that districts represented by Democrats automatically get twice the allocation for state spending as districts represented by Republicans? They do.
And most of these “black communities that have been historically ignored” are represented by Democrats. They have already been getting twice as much state spending as Republican districts… even though we’re all Illinoisans. Where has all that money gone?
Can you spell political cronies? That might be a good start.
At the local level, Democrats have run Chicago for almost 90 years – four, going on five generations. Yet there’s still deep poverty and a wide, wide divide between haves and have-nots in Chicago. How is it fair for Democrats to characterize Republicans or conservatives as racists or racially insensitive without Democrats taking any blame for the poverty, violent crime, drugs and lack of opportunities in their districts?
Again, who has “ignored” these communities for generations?
Sorry for the off-topic commentary, but I’m fired up over some politicians working to exploit the tragic and senseless death of a man in Minneapolis at the hands of a bad cop. And the others cops who stood by and allowed it to happen.
This special session might see some discussion of gun control. But given how guns and ammo have sold out with all this civil unrest, it doesn’t seem like it would benefit Democrats in Illinois to pass any gun control and that’s the prism through which Michael Madigan evaluates everything.
Worst single day for homicides in 60 years on May 31st. 45 people maimed, 18 fatally. If black lives matter, why no outcry? While some of the dead were likely gang members and career criminals, not all fell into those categories. Not by a long shot.
One, Keishanay Bolden, was an 18-year-old college student, a sweet young girl who aspired to become a corrections officer.
Another, Lazarra Daniels, was in her final year of college prep, also with a bright future ahead of her.
Their names aren’t nationally known. Or even known across Chicago.
Yet their senseless deaths are an American tragedy. It’s almost like some folks are politically exploiting Mr. George Floyd’s death to advance their pet political causes, does it not?
Rioting and looting that weekend left Michigan Avenue in shambles and on fire in places. The damage was widespread and police were largely unable to get a handle on things, even with upwards of 3,500 arrests. 3,500 arrests. Of which Cook County State’s Attorney dismissed charges on all but a tiny, tiny handful.
Welcome to Chicago Justice.
Is it any wonder Walmart has already announced it won’t reopen all of its Neighborhood stores hit by looters?
Rioting and looting quickly spread not only to many of the suburbs, but also downstate communities like Peoria, Bloomington-Normal, Champaign-Urbana, Danville, Decatur, Springfield and even as far south as Carbondale.
All of this has led to a rush on gun shops that made the recent COVID lockdown rush look tame.
People saw police in their communities – not just Chicago but their own communities – unable to maintain order. Whether it was because their political appointee chiefs held their department back, or if they simply didn’t have the manpower for the task at hand. The end result was the same. Anarchy ruled overnight.
If police couldn’t protect their own home/headquarters, does anyone think they could protect residents’ homes?
And then the widespread rumors that the Antifa and Black Lives Matter folks were going to target residential neighborhoods caused a whole lot of non-gun owner sphincters to slam shut.
And the ones who had a FOID card but no gun went out and bought guns. Others who had guns but not much ammo (how in the world???) sought out ammo like a plague of locusts.
And the best for last!
GUNS SAVE LIFE MONTHLY MEETINGS TO RESUME IN JULY.
Even if we have to call them “protests,” we plan to resume our regular monthly meetings in July. We’re communicating with our hosting facilities to make sure they’re still in business and that they will be open come the first and second weeks of July when we usually hold our meetings (and the last Sunday of the month for our Chicagoland meeting).
Stay tuned to the Guns Save Life website for any late-breaking announcements. But for now, mark your calendars. We’re coming back!
In the meantime, stay safe and stay alert.
God bless America’s gun owners and God bless America.