In regione caecorum rex est luscus
In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is King
by Desiderius Erasmus, a GSL member
I really hope this doesn’t happen and were I an advisor to the Governor I would tell him so, but I’m not, so here it is.
Sometime soon, a sequence of events will happen in Springfield and Chicago, Illinois – a series of discussions between mid-level Illinois State Police officials, the Director of the Illinois State Police, the Attorney General of Illinois and the Governor of Illinois. It will not be a pleasant series of meetings. Not everyone will be present at every meeting; invitations to each will be on a need-to-know basis. It probably will not be recorded, nor will notes be taken.
There will only be one topic – the status of mandatory registration of firearms. Illinois residents who own certain semi-automatic firearms are now required by law to register them with the state police, as part of the state’s ban on “assault weapons.” Affected gun owners have until January 1, 2024, to register their firearms to be “grandfathered” under the new law, which has been challenged by several lawsuits, claiming that the legislation infringes on Second Amendment rights. Those challenges are winding their way through the court system, and pieces have even reached the doors of the US Supreme Court. Closer to home, numerous sheriffs have publicly stated they would not enforce the law.
There are currently some 2.4 million FOID cardholders in Illinois, but the exact number of individuals possessing firearms that are now banned remains unknown. For argument’s sake, let’s just assume that this number is one million, with another 200,000 being owned by criminals without FOID cards. Registration is done through an ISP portal online, so registration is known instantly, and constantly updated.
The first meeting will be between ISP officials who run the portal and the Director of the Illinois State Police. It will be bad news somewhat along the lines of: “Sir, we have a problem; our figures on registration shows that of the estimated one million semi-auto rifle owners in Illinois, who are required to have registered by January 1, less than 2% have done so. And it appears that none of the 200,000 weapons owned by criminals have been registered.”
At this point, Cover Up #1 – burying information – occurs, and from now on, there will be no mention of the 200,000 semi-autos owned by criminals, because this was one of the arguments made against the new law – that it would only affect law-abiding gun owners because street gangs and other hardened criminals never bother to follow any law. And shazaam! – that’s exactly what is happening.
With that understood, the Director of the Illinois State Police and one or two experts on the ISP registration portal tromp over to the office of the Attorney General to give him the bad news.
Cover Up #2 probably occurs now – hiding the trail, as administrative personnel in the AG office are instructed to schedule a meeting with the Governor, but tell the Governor’s staff that the subject of the meeting is confidential, as are the names of those attending. The AG knows that the Governor – his boss – will not like these results, and asks the ISP personnel if there might be another way of determining which citizens in Illinois have the banned weapons. This is getting close to illegal conduct because someone is going to suggest that the ISP start raiding FFL dealers – under the auspices of checking sales records – and capturing every transaction concerning these weapons.
This is Cover Up #3 – using euphemisms. The personnel in the AG meeting will not use the term “raids” but rather something like “administrative compliance inspections.” In this meeting, the attendees will conclude that it is not important if a weapon is registered; what is truly vital is that law enforcement in Illinois know exactly where every one of the million-plus “naughty” firearms is. To protect the AG, there is no mention of Cover Up #1; so he can later say that no one ever informed him how many illegal rifles were in the possession of criminal organizations.
The AG, the Director of the ISP, and maybe one other person, go see the governor. That one other person will wait in the Governor’s outer office – the less people in the know from here on out, the better. Depending how tight the ISP Director is with the Governor will determine if he too stays outside the Governor’s private office.
The AG goes inside and gives the Guv the bad news. The Governor explodes and orders the AG to make examples of folks that law authorities are certain have these weapons, and then go to their homes and arrest them, with compliant news media filming the ensuing perp walk with the gun-owner in handcuffs and twenty heavily-armed officers guarding the scene, holding up the offending rifle – reminiscent of the Carcano carbine of Lee Harvey Oswald infamy. They’ll do this in counties where the state attorney and sheriff are big supporters of the law, and “advise” the local yokels to go for the max penalties under law. That will be Cover Up #4 – an attempted improper influence of a court.
The AG talks the Governor out of this draconian response, which is where Cover Up #5 – “I know nothing” occurs. The AG says that there are other ways to get information on weapon ownership and he will do a full-court press with those for a month to see if the numbers go up. That way the governor can later say that the AG never provided details on why the numbers later went up. Cover Ups? To borrow phrases from Alfred E. Newman & Feldwebel Hans Schultz, “I know nothing, nothing!” “What, Me Worry?”