Friday, May 8, 2009

NRA Playing "Kill Bill" Against IllinoisCarry

I've been hoping this could be resolved without resorting to publicly "outing" the NRA, but they were told that this press release would be going out, and they weren't willing to make a change. I want the NRA on our side in Illinois, and that means I want them to commit themselves to supporting License-To-Carry legislation no matter who wrote it. Please read this whole thing carefully before you make any phone calls or send any emails.

With friends like these - who needs enemies . . .
NRA Lobbied Against License to Carry Bill in IL

A little background first. For the past decade and a half license-to-carry bills introduced in the IL General Assembly have become routine and hold little to no expectation of passing due to opposition from the Chicago/Cook Co. legislators. That opposition means every year the same old bills calling for statewide preemption which would force the carry law into Chicago guarantees the bill is dead on arrival. A bill or two may make the headlines but never to the floor for a vote largely due to the opposition of Mayor Daley and Cook County legislators. The likelihood of a statewide preemption bill being passed is greatly reduced by the fact that bills preempting home rule status require 71 votes for passage rather than a simple majority of 60. Double or triple that reduction by the fact that in Chicago it is illegal to even own a handgun let alone carry one for self-defense purposes. We find it somewhat ludicrous to even consider a statewide preemptive bill passing in the state of Illinois given those circumstances.

Other states like Ohio and Nebraska faced years of major opposition like this. They finally won their battle by passing a carry law which we in Illinois would call "subject to home rule". An imperfect bill that allowed major cities to opt out but did provide a means for license-to-carry to get a foothold in the state. Pro-Second Amendment groups in Ohio were then able to prove carrying firearms for self-defense works and they came back in just a few short years and successfully expanded the law to include everyone. Nebraska, just two short years after passing their license-to-carry bill now has statewide preemption according to their state's Attorney General and are now working to amend their law.

With those recent successes in mind many license-to-carry supporters in Illinois were very excited when
down state Representative Brandon Phelps courageously decided it was time to try the same strategy in Illinois - how about a bill that would require only a simple majority of 60 votes, would provide an opportunity for license-to-carry to get a foot in the door, something similar to what has been so successful in Ohio and Nebraska . . . how about a "subject to home rule" bill which would allow home rule municipalities to opt out if they so chose but citizens in the vast majority of the state would be free to exercise their constitutional right to keep and bear arms? The Citizens Self-defense Act, HB 2257, was born.

Keeping in mind a statewide preemptive law is the ultimate goal, IllinoisCarry members, including members residing in municipalities sure to ban the practice, have given their full support to the idea of subject to home rule carry and believe the premise behind it is the best hope of getting any kind of license-to-carry bill passed in the state of Illinois.

HB2257 started off with good promise, the sponsor reported he felt sure he could garner the 60 votes needed to pass it out of the House. So it came as a huge shock and disappointment to learn from legislators that the NRA was actually lobbying against it.

When contacted by lllinoisCarry the NRA-ILA lobbyist confirmed the NRA-ILA was indeed lobbying against the bill and vowed to kill it. The reason given for the opposition was that the bill did not include statewide preemption, that it would create a patchwork of ordinances all across the state which could be detrimental to license holders, and it would ultimately be vetoed by Gov. Quinn and still need 71 votes for a veto override. Therefore we should continue to wait and work toward a change in the political makeup of the IL legislature.

IllinoisCarry maintains that statewide preemption didn't pass even when we did have a more favorable party in office and continuing to wait for countless more years will only result in more defenseless victims being violently assaulted and murdered. Citizens in the rest of the state where license to carry is being welcomed should not be denied the right to defend themselves just because other municipalities choose to infringe on their citizens' rights.

Furthering the argument for a subject to home rule bill like HB2257, IllinoisCarry is confident it will lead to statewide preemption as it has in Ohio and Nebraska. IL firearm owners already have to work within a patchwork of city ordinances concerning firearms and a look at the listing of city ordinances on the
Illinois State Police website would verify that fact. Although Gov. Quinn may very well veto the bill, we will never know that if every such bill is killed by the NRA-ILA without a good hard push for passage.

We need the NRA-ILA and their hardworking lobbyists on the IL Second Amendment team. But we differ greatly on this issue of denying an opportunity for a subject to home rule bill to come to a vote. The NRA-ILA lobbyist for Illinois is one of the best in the country and has been invaluable in the battle to curtail bad gun bills in the state of Illinois. We recognize a lobbyist must follow the bidding of the organization they represent. We have been assured by him that if the NRA-ILA changes their stance on the issue to one of support then he will support the issue also.

Now after weeks of conversation with the NRA-ILA, their leadership team has temporarily changed their position from opposition to neutral while they claim to study the issue. It is our opinion a subject to home rule license-to-carry bill will not advance in Illinois without the support of the NRA-ILA. We need the NRA to SUPPORT subject to home rule carry in Illinois.


If you are an NRA member, resident of Illinois, visit Illinois, or even travel through Illinois please call the numbers below - REMEMBER BE POLITE BUT FIRM- and tell them you want their support for subject to home rule license-to-carry in Illinois. If you are a resident of Chicago or any other municipality that might exercise the right to "opt out" of concealed carry, assure the NRA-ILA that you know the most effective and expeditious way to get concealed carry into your area is to get it into the rest of the state first. Do not let them get caught up in HB2257 specifically - bills can be amended, it's the issue of subject to home rule we want them to support.

Contact the following NRA-ILA leadership team:

Chris Cox
Executive Director
1-703-267-3973 fax

Scott Christman
Assist. Ex. Dir.

Randy Kozuch
ILA-State and Local Affairs
703-267-3976 fax

To follow this topic, ask questions, or join in the discussion


Anonymous said...

a patchwork bill is a loss for our side. if you allow Chicago to continue to pretend that the 2nd Amendment doesn't apply to them, then you have lost. the best part is that they know it. you are far better off fighting for a better bill than passing this one and pretending that you won.


Don said...

I would agree if I thought both were possible, but they're not. Subject-to-home-rule takes a lot of Chicago pieces off the board, and it's a HUGE step forward for several reasons:

1. Right now, carrying a loaded firearm is a felony everywhere in Illinois. If STHR license-to-carry legislation passes, it will be a felony *nowhere* in Illinois, (except for people who can't or don't acquire a license to carry) because a home-rule entity doesn't have the power to make it more than a misdemeanor.

2. There's no other single step we can take that will create as much pressure on Chicago to allow LTC than to surround it with a shall-issue LTC state. Chicago residents will be able to get LTC's and use them everywhere outside the city. Non-residents will travel between the Forbidden Zone and the Free Lands daily. That can only make it more and more difficult to hold out.

3. If the rest of the state has LTC when the courts get around to addressing the "bear" part of a fully-incorporated 2nd Amendment, there will be a much clearer equal-protection problem. When you can use your state-issued license in Naperville and Waukegan but not in Chicago, it's clear there's a problem.

4. Initial reports from city governments indicate that the "patchwork" argument is overblown and not based on communication with the people in charge. We were told that Carbondale, Peoria and Decatur would certainly opt out, but when we contacted mayors and aldermen in those cities, we were told the opposite.

5. Passage of a STHR bill would be a beginning, not the end. There's no one at IllinoisCarry, the ISRA, or GunsSaveLife who doesn't hold LTC for the entire state as the goal. The STHR bill is one objective along the way. It's a matter of gaining and holding ground. Patton might be telling you to dash to Berlin and get it over with, but if that's outside your capabilities it makes sense to grind to Paris and secure it, then fight on.

Anonymous said...

Peoria opt out? I can't see it. After all my time in that city, it would be right at home in Indiana.

As much as this pains me, Don is right. Chicago is such a Leviathan in Illinois that is is better to bypass it and then attack when conditions allow in the future.

Shootin' Buddy

Strings said...

OK, I have to ask: what is NRA's plan to "change the makeup of the IL legislature"? What... are they planning on having Chicago nuked? Because, so long as Chicago is there, you're gonna have the same set of problems.

Or maybe they figure they'll wait until Lil' Dick finally steps down/dies/has a stake driven through his heart?

The Freeholder said...

I disagree. I've seen concealed carry in places with and without a preemption clause. Without the preemption clause, you won't have concealed carry in the vast majority of Illinois. With it, you're going to have a ton of trouble in your state, but eventually it will prevail.

As for your points in comments, I'll give you #1, #2 doesn't count because Chicago will never allow guns without massive outside pressure, #3 I can't address, #4 is only accurate "right now" (what happens when new jerks get elected?) and #5, incrementalism in my state has not worked well. We still have all the stupid places we can't carry, but our preemption clause keeps it from being different in each jurisdiction.

I understand your frustration, but I think you're thinking tactics when you need to be thinking strategy.

Tam said...

Wait... wait... wait...

The hardcore no-compromisers of the NRA are foiling the "take our small victories where we can" types?

That's not how it works! I read teh intarw3bz, you can't fool me!

Don said...

Believe me, if you've got a better strategy, I'm open to it. "Insist on pre-emption" is a failed strategy thus far, so if that's your idea, you'll need to explain what you would change to make that strategy work.

I don't see how #2 "doesn't count." Your point about "only outside pressure" moving Chicago doesn't make sense to me. The most powerful city in the state, both economically and politically, with 1/2 of the voters in the state, and you tell me all that concentrated political power inside the city can't change the place, but the diffuse power outside the city can? That doesn't make sense.

And I'm afraid I'm going to have to ask you to justify this one:
"Without the preemption clause, you won't have concealed carry in the vast majority of Illinois."You're talking to someone who's done the research, here. What you're saying has been checked, and it didn't turn out to be true. You and I agree that parts of Chicago metro will opt out. Which other vast areas will be opting out, and what evidence do you have to prove it?

illinois Vote said...

The NRA basically left Northern Illinois hung out to dry years ago with the battle plan of fight the battles they thought they could win and avoid the rest.
Now their faced with fighting what Chicagoian's have been Brainwashed by the Daley's for 25 years. The NRA helped create this situation by allowing Chicago's free reign.
Heller and Cato forced the NRA to come out and Play. They were avoiding the case until Robert Levy pushed it so far that they had to commit to the Scotus case or get left at the roadside.
The NRA better wake up soon here in Illinois because the timing of Heller and the outcome of what will happen with McDonald couldn't be more opportune to refreshing the Chicagoian's that they indeed do have rights under the 2nd amendment despite what they have been spoon-feed for years by the Democratic machine.
Preemption may be the only way to get Chicago to wake up when the rest of the state can carry for defense and the emerald city still remains target range for gang bangers.

Don said...

Tam, it depends on your point of view. From some points of view, the insistence on pre-emption is the less activist position because it's widely known and accepted that pre-emption isn't going to happen. That means that if only pre-emption is acceptable, you aren't really under any pressure to produce anything.

The Freeholder said...

The outside pressure I'm referring to is a combination of Heller plus whatever case it is that gets the 2nd over the incorporation hurdle. (Maybe plus some more case law on the subject.) Then, oh, a few dozen lawsuits lost, and maybe Chicago will get the joke. I guess that is sort of what you're talking about in your #3.

As far as the preemption clause, maybe what I've seen in the rest of the US won't apply in Illinois. I don't live there; you do, and I'll grant that things may be different.

However, every time there has been a CC law passed, there has been a sustained screeching sound from municipalities in that state along the lines of "you're taking away our rights". Call me simplistic, but I think that they'd only be complaining if they planned on enacting laws to restrict CC more than the state law. I know that NC's 4 biggest cities (which I'll grant you wouldn't be a pimple on Chicago's butt) all screamed bloody freakin' murder when the preemption clause stayed in our law.

(Blood, of course, stubbornly refused to run in their streets as they predicted it would.)

Human nature being what it is, I suspect that there would be a lot more municipalities in Illinois than you think that would, after all due reflection, decide that some "common sense limitations" on CC were in order. Then you get to have the fun and joy of trying to know fifty-hundred sets of laws so that you can make a hundred mile trip across the state and stay within the law in each and every jurisdiction.

Now, if you want hard and fast evidence, I have none to offer. But I've been around the block a couple of times, and I'd bet you a dinner of your choice that I'm closer to what would be on the ground in 5 years after a law with no preemption clause than you are. I would be surprised if any municipality of more than 35,000-ish population didn't enact some level of restrictions. Large concentrations of people in the US have a tendency to lean in a left/liberal/progressive/etc direction. Election maps have shown that the last 3 cycles. Those folks have a marked desire to restrict your gun rights (among a number of your rights that they'd like to restrict).

Now, it's your state and your business, but for my part, if that's what I had to put up with here in NC (instead of the stupid list of places that I can't carry and the lack of a castle doctrine defense), I think I'd wind up just leaving the blasted thing at home.

Anonymous said...