Illinois Considering Several "Extreme" Anti-Gun Bills
In addition to Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s handgun licensing and ammunition tax schemes mentioned here, several other anti-gun bills are expected to see action this week in Springfield:
House Bill 4149 and House Bill 4456, both introduced by state Representative Kelly Cassidy (D-14), would require private transfers of handguns to go through a Federal Firearms License (FFL) holder, and allow for fees (gun taxes) for such transfers.
House Bill 3809, also introduced by Representative Cassidy, would create a new felony offense for anyone who transfers a firearm to someone the transferor "knows is a street gang member." While this may appear to be a good idea on its face, as is normally the case with anti-gun extremists like Cassidy, the "devil is in the details." This legislation defines "street gang" very broadly and vaguely. Theoretically, an organization such as a sportsmen's club, trade association, union, or any other group of individuals that identify themselves collectively because of a particular shared interest, religious affiliation, or even ethnic background, could be labeled a "street gang" under this bill if enacted into law. All it would take, for example, is for the organization to have been officially involved in "any criminal activity" that is intended to increase the organization's size or otherwise benefit the group. Violent acts, drug-related acts, serious felony offenses, or anything else one would commonly associate with a "street gang” would not need to be among the activities carried out by these organizations in order to deem them a “street gang” under this legislation. Furthermore, if a group is identified under existing law as a "street gang," it is not clear if the person transferring the firearm need be aware of this fact in order to be charged under this proposal. It would appear that, as long as the person transferring the firearm knows the individual to whom he or she is making the transfer is a member of the organization, it does not matter if he or she knows the group is identified as a "street gang." Therefore, even if you follow existing laws regarding transferring firearms in Illinois perfectly, you could still be charged under this anti-gun scheme.
Finally, House Bill 4457, again sponsored by Representative Cassidy, appears to target only felons and those "in the Custody of the Department of Corrections Facilities" with increased penalties for illegally carrying a firearm. The NRA does not oppose this particular provision. However, this bill also targets any individual who is carrying a firearm for personal protection if that person does not have a valid FOID card. Even someone with no criminal history and who is doing nothing more dangerous than carrying a firearm for personal protection, could face three to six years in prison for a first-time offense. The current penalty is one to three years. In a state like Illinois, which is the ONLY state in the nation that has NO provision for law-abiding citizens to lawfully carry a firearm for personal protection, these increased penalties are clearly intended as yet another means the state may use to punish those who understand the true meaning of the Second Amendment and wish to provide for their personal protection against the acts of violent criminals.
Please be sure to contact your state Representative IMMEDIATELY and urge him or her to OPPOSE House Bills 4149, 4456, 3809, 4457, as well as the previously reported on House Bills 1294, 5167, and 5831.
Contact information for your state Representative can be found by clicking here.