This Saturday, I had an opportunity to speak with multiple Illinois State Troopers. It happened at the Faith & Blue event in Decatur (more on that in a future post). In the morning, the ISP delivered two entry-level presentations for the audience, including one on “Internet Sex Crimes and Children” and another on human trafficking. Both were good. In down time before, during and after the presentations, I had opportunities to speak with multiple ISP rank-and-file guys (and a lady), including several from investigations. After I introduced myself, the conversations turned to guns sooner or later. It was enlightening to hear their take.
I’ll share here without naming names.
The consensus was that “probably 99%” of Troopers are with those of us fighting Pritzker’s new gun & magazine ban in court (and in the court of public opinion).
It’s personal for them as well: They don’t want their families disarmed of the most effective self-defense firearms and magazines any more than we want our families’ options curtailed.
Who among ISP supports this? Leadership and those bucking for promotions seeking to garner favor among those at the top.
They absolutely, positively don’t support taking guns from the law-abiding. And frankly they don’t feel those evading registration requirements (both of guns and private transfers) are criminals, either.
What’s more, they aren’t that keen that law-abiding gun owner support (regardless of how deep or shallow) of cops is being diminished by worries that some of those same cops will come knocking on gun owner doors and want to take ARs and other banned firearms soon.
“We know who’s gonna stop and help us if we’re on our backs in a fight on the side of the road.” Hint: It ain’t bad guys or gun control advocates by and large.
(Remember this story from the summer of 2022 in McLean County, IL? And GSL’s earlier OP-ED about police concerns about losing support?)
That trooper in the above video looks like one of the guys from Saturday, by the way.
Yeah, I’m leaving out a lot of “off the record” stuff, but suffice it to say that while only one or two said it directly, the rest nodded their heads in that they are a lot like us in finding this new law repugnant to the Constitution and therefore pretty much null and void when it comes to enforcement in their daily world unless people do really stupid stuff. More on that in a moment.
I asked about enforcement teams making home visits for those who don’t register.
“Are you kidding? We don’t really have enough staffing to do our real work,” one said in so many words. As an example, the guy who delivered the human trafficking presentation drove three hours to deliver it because the local investigator was tied up with something else.
Another example: they admitted to triaging human trafficking cases because they don’t have the manpower. And combating human trafficking is a high priority at ISP now. The investigators working the electronic sex crimes cases said pretty much the same thing: they need more help as it’s everywhere and they’ve only got staff to handle the worse of the worst.
So where is the line in the sand where they will do home visits and make arrests over this new law?
There was one bright line they all agreed upon: “If you go online and post that you’re going to kill any cop that shows up at your house over gun control or anything else, don’t be surprised if we come pay you a visit. But we aren’t going to your house. We’ll pull you over on your way to buy groceries or on your way to work.”
They’ll then ask if you were really serious and if you puff up your chest and say “hell yes” then they’re just going to smile after they put the cuffs on your ass. And you won’t be released without bail before trial. Really, anything other than “Of course not. It was a stupid thing to post and I took it down already” will probably serve as a quick ticket to an arrest and conviction and possible (probable?) prison time.
One criticized how the feds handled that disabled guy in Utah. The FBI raided a guy who repeatedly threatened to shoot politicians (including Biden?) for promoting gun control in a series of social media posts. Instead of taking the man at the grocery store or coffee shop, they went to his house and ended up killing him. Mr. ISP seemed to think that could have been handled much better without the loss of life.
“If you want to talk that trash with your buddies over a beer, that’s inadvisable, but I get it. Post it publicly? You’re gonna meet us and we’re going to treat you like a threat.”
There you go. Candidly, I felt better. At the same time I have no doubt there are some at ISP, especially some new hires and command staff, that don’t share these long-time LEOs pragmatic views on gun enforcement.
At the same time, we should realize this whole gun control schtick from JB Pritzker is largely political theater. But for those who involuntarily get caught up in it, this theater will have life-changing ramifications.