Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Bribe That Wasn't . . . . .

Armed and Safe: IL State Rep. Eddie Washington criticized for accepting money from NRA . . . but he didn't.

Days of our Trailers' Thirdpower has the story . . . . but here's what you need to know about the relevance of this particular band of malcontents before you get too much energy invested:
Maybe there are a couple hundred behind the cameraman (Michael Schmidt/News-Sun) but somehow, I think it more likely that the Three Amigas here were the entire protest. Meanwhile, Sebastian points out that this is the dumbest thing the Million Moms could possibly do. The odds that Rep. Washington is actually changing sides at this time are next to nil, but just because he abstained on a bill that wasn't going to pass with or without his vote (if he'd voted for it, it would have failed 56-60 instead of 55-60) they've decided to throw him under the bus and accuse him of corruption.
Good thinking.

And just so we all remember, this is what a political demonstration looks like:

Monday, March 30, 2009

The Mexican Gun CanardTM

INDENT I found this graphic depiction of the anti-gun side's latest desperate gambit (which is beginning to take on the name "The Mexican CanardTM") in my local paper on Friday. I'm not going to waste a lot of time critiquing the cartoon; it's a good work in that it expresses its creator's opinion almost instantly in a visual way, and the editor has told me in the past that this cartoonist's job is to upset people so they'll pay attention. Judging by the comment section, he's doing that job, so I doubt he cares what I have to say.

INDENT I'm not going to spend a lot of time on the factual implausibility of the Mexican Canard today. Others have debunked this latest gun-control myth ably and with alacrity, and frankly I'm late to the party. What I'd rather do today is to point out a parallel that's been bugging me for a few days.

INDENT Am I the only one who remembers The Terrorist CanardTM? That was the proposition that Al Qaeda terrorists were coming to the United States to buy their weapons, since they could walk into any gun show, shout "Death to America!" for a 10% discount on admission and parking, and buy a truckload of "assault weapons" no questions asked. It was an honorary hypotenuse on the Triangle of DeathTM (anybody remember the Triangle of DeathTM?) The only problem was that it was obviously not true. Those "assault weapons" the Violence Policy Center was nattering about were semi-automatic lookalike versions, while terrorists who lived in places like Pakistan or Somalia had easy access to the real, fully-automatic versions at home. Moreover, the semi-automatic versions available in limited numbers at an American gun show were going for hundreds of dollars apiece, while the full-auto versions in third-world countries were going for more like tens. Essentially, the Terrorist CanardTM stated that terrorists were leaving places where they could buy large numbers of fully-automatic AK-47 rifles for a few dollars apiece, paying for airfare to fly to a country with much stricter and more capable law enforcement in the hopes of buying a few semi-automatic weapons for hundreds of dollars apiece. It made the opposite of sense.

INDENT This newest gambit is basically the same idea wrapped in a tortilla. It only sounds scary until you think it through; if you were a leader in a Mexican cartel with access to rifles, ammunition, grenades and RPG's from Mexican military arsenals, M16 rifles and ammunition from scavengers all over South America who have old American military exports to sell on the cheap, and a dozen other sources . . . would you be sending people to gun shows in Tucson and Albuqurque to find someone with a clean background check to buy a few semi-automatic rifles and then try to smuggle them south? When it fails, it'll end up the same way as The Terrorist CanardTM did--forgotten once it's no longer useful as a club to bea gun owners over the head.INDENT

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Earth Hour 2009

I don't want anyone to get the wrong idea about "Earth Hour" last night--I'm pretty sure my lights were all off at the appointed hour, but I was at the movies with my family.

I can tell the rest of you must have had a big impact, though, because today I have 6" of snow on my walks.

On my birthday.

Which is at the end of March.

Thanks a lot, jerks.

Friday, March 27, 2009

"Snuffy" Pfleger's Letter to Legislators

The Rev. Michael "Snuffy" Pfleger has written a letter to his legislators, which is to say, my legislators. He's outraged that House Bill 48 was defeated in the Illinois House of Representatives this week. I can understand his frustration, but it seems to me that he makes the error most common to the passionate advocate for any cause: he assumes that those who opposed him must actually share his worldview. Since they must agree with him (how could anyone possibly think differently than he does?) they must be corrupt, dishonest, afraid . . . . anything except voting in opposition to him because they think his way of doing things is wrong:

To: Illinois House Representatives

From: Rev. Michael L. Pfleger, Saint Sabina Church

Re: HB48

Date: March 26, 2009

To all the legislators who voted no to HB48, I ask the question, why? I watched and listened to your hollow arguments and your statements wondering whether HB48 would make things any better or not, or whether there was a better bill that could do more, but I could not help but think maybe, yes, maybe there is better legislation to be written. Maybe this won't do enough, but why weren't you willing to try to see, to give it a chance? If you do nothing, nothing will change. If you do something, you are putting yourself in position to make a difference. Especially since you have offered no other legislation. Are your hearts that insensitive or your allegiance to the National Rifle Association that strong that you could not say well we'll give it a try? Anything to help save one life - anything to try and stop one more gun from getting into the wrong hands.

Yes, I watched and listened to your arguments loud and clear, but I also hear the blood of my foster son who was killed by gun violence and the countless other sons and daughters killed by gun violence crying out from the grave. Perhaps, like Cain, in the book of Genesis, you ask, "Am I my brother's keeper?" The answer then and the answer now is, yes!

I wonder when another life is gunned down, if you will feel anything. I continue to pray for you and for the safety for your children and all our children.
You asked, Father Pfleger, so I'll answer. I didn't have a vote on the House floor, of course, but I can tell you why I lobbied against your bill, and I imagine some of the reasons are the same. Others are so obvious I don't think it takes a lot of insight to see them--IF you are capable of imagining that other people have experiences and think thoughts that have nothing to do with your own.
  • HB48 would be unconstitutional. Especially in a post-Heller world, this is an issue whether you would like to face it or not. I realize that there are a lot of unconstitutional laws on the books already, at the municipal, county, state and federal level, but that doesn't make it right, nor does it excuse adding another one.
  • HB48 would be an undue burden on gun owners. I know you believe that there is no undue burden on gun owners, because you believe that those burdens prevent murders, and you consider this a debate of convenience vs. life. Given that choice, most people would choose life . . . . but the choice is a false one. The idea that I should have to go to a retail store to loan someone a firearm, when I can sell him gasoline, matches, a car, rope, duct tape or a million other deadly implements and substances with no questions asked, is foolish.
  • HB48 would not reduce violence in Chicago. Generally I don't approve of utilitarian arguments used to defend principles, but I know you think in terms of utilitarian outcomes and I want to help. The fact is that an extra layer of background checks on people who follow gun laws will have no effect on people who don't--and the people shooting people in Chicago don't follow gun laws. If they did, they'd apply for FOID cards and be background-checked at that point. Anyone who can get a FOID card today would pass your proposed background check, and anyone who lives outside the law and buys or sells guns without a FOID card would never submit to your proposed background check, either. The madness of proposing a second background check as a way of catching people who don't submit to the first background check should speak for itself.
  • Finally, let me indulge in a bit of hypocrisy and speak to you as if you share my worldview for a moment. You see, your letter reinforces a widely held belief among pro-gun advocates that activists like yourself don't expect your latest law to have a real impact any more than we do; you intend, instead, for the law to pass and get you one incremental step closer to your real goal, either eliminating private gun ownership or restricting it as strictly as you can manage. Admitting that your bill isn't going to accomplish anything only makes this explanation seem more accurate.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Bleg: Domain Name Registration

All you NetLords out there: say there's a domain name I want to register, and I know it's available. Is there a best way to go about that? I see I can just go to GoDaddy and sign up, but I want the best mix of cheap and completely reliable. GoDaddy has commercials, but that's really the only reason I know them. They would let me register the domain in .com and .net for $23 per year. That sounds cheap, but are they reliable? Is anyone else better?

And don't go anywhere when you answer. I'll have hosting issues next.

Celebration Two: Spurious Chicago Gun Charge Dismissed--Now With Corrections!

First, the good news:
C.K. Morley is not going to prison. Morley was "caught" carrying an unloaded handgun in a case a few months ago in Chicago. He was not charged with violating Chicago's registration law, but with a charge of Unlawful Use of a Weapon under state law. The trouble with that charge is that he was carrying a lawfully-owned handgun unloaded in a case, and he has a FOID card. That means that the UUW statute does not apply. This is not a matter of interpretation, no matter how many prosecutors don't get it. Even the judge in Morley's case, in issuing the order to dismiss the charges a few days ago, admitted to Chris that the case had taught him something new; until Morley's lawyer pointed out the statute, he'd assumed that a gun had to be disassembled in order to be transported legally. But the statute is very clear:

(c) This Section does not apply to or affect the transportation or possession of weapons that:

(i) are broken down in a non functioning state; or
(ii) are not immediately accessible; or
(iii) are unloaded and enclosed in a case, firearm carrying box, shipping box, or other container by a person who has been issued a currently valid Firearm Owner's Identification Card.
The really good thing about this case is the way that gun owners came together to send money and help so Morley could prevail. C.K. Morley has a long history of giving his time and money to other gun owners caught in similar circumstances. He helped raise money and bring in volunteers to pack courtrooms when John Horstman, Vana Haggerty, and Roderick Pritchett were being railroaded in similar fashion (Horstman had his charges dropped and won a $50,000 settlement against his prosecutors, Haggerty had the UUW charges dropped, and Pritchett prevailed in a bench trial in Cook County.) Now it's his turn, and although I wouldn't wish this experience on him, I'm glad people are trying to help.

Now, the bad news.
By my math, the money raised so far amounts to $2,500 or less. The donation buckets passed around IGOLD brought in more than that! More importantly, I doubt Morley's lawyer (Walter Maksym, the guy I'd want to hire if I were in the same predicament) can afford all the work on this case for $2,500. I don't know whether C.K. has found a new job yet, but his marriage is apparently on the rocks and he's living with friends. I think it's time for us all to think about whether we care about helping C.K. Morley get over all the effects of this arrest, or whether we were donating money so he could win a court case that could have affected us. It's going to take a lot more if we intend to help Morley get back on his feet. What are we willing to give?

Checks payable to Walter Maksym and Associates can be mailed directly:
Walter Maksym
Gun Owners Fellowship
605 Fulton Avenue
Rockford, IL 61103
(please make checks payable to Walter Maksym and put "for CKMorley Defense Fund" on the checks)
. . . or PayPal donations can be made to FELLOWSHIP@ICARRY.ORG with comments indicating that the money is to go to C.K. Morley.

(There were three very serious errors in this post when I posted it. They were entirely my fault. Normally I'd leave any errors in place and strike through them so it's clear just how dumb I am, but leaving these errors in place could have caused problems for others, so they've simply been removed. Thanks to everyone who pointed out these problems!)

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Celebration One: HB48 Down in Flames

It looks like private sales (such as they are) will continue in Illinois. HB0048 has been defeated. Last year, the All-Powerful Gun Lobby (APGL) managed to convince two formerly reliable anti-gun votes--Democrat legislators representing urban districts in Chicago--to vote against the bill, which deadlocked it 58 votes to 58. 60-56 would have passed it, so that was a squeaker.

This year, the tally was 55-60 with one abstaining, which I personally consider 55-61. I don't even know who abstained yet, but you can bet it wasn't a pro-gun legislator trying to hide out on this one. By my math, that means we picked up a minimum of 3-4 votes this year. That's a huge deal in Illinois, and I'd like to take a moment to harp on something I talk about all the time: the DemonRATS vs. the ReTHUGlicans. There may be states where that dichotomy makes sense, but Illinois is not one of them. Illinois is a state where the main divide is between urban legislators of both parties and "downstate" legislators of both parties. There are 70 Democrats in the Illinois House of Representatives, but only 48 Republicans. Since it takes 60 votes to pass a bill, that means that if the Democrats can arrange a party-line vote, they can pass anything they want. They can even give up nine or 10 votes on a given bill and pass it anyway; there's nothing the Republicans can do about it. So in Illinois, when a bad bill like this one goes down, we owe that fact to a lot of Democrats.

The really interesting thing to check on will be the number of urban Democrats who voted against this bill. The urban vs. rural divide is very real in Illinois and the Democratic party, but that may be changing. I suspect urban lawmakers are beginning to defect to the pro-gun side at least part of the time. If that trend continues, the anti-gun side in Illinois is in deeper trouble than I've thought. That's a process that would take time to show results, and those who demand instant success might not notice it . . . . but that kind of slow momentum is much harder to resist than the temporary flashes of public attention.

(In case anyone is wondering, the defeat of HB48 means that it will still be legal to sell or give a gun privately in Illinois--as long as both parties have valid FOID cards, a record is kept of those FOID cards, and both parties observe a 24-hour waiting period for long guns and a 72-hour waiting period for handguns.)

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Thanks for Stopping By . . . .

Hi, Howard University students and/or staff! Nice to see you here. Did you really stop in, read this blog, and have nothing to say about the Rev. "Snuffy" Pfleger? Or Rep. Annazette Collins? Or the ludicrous ridiculosity (if that's not a word, it should be) of sending a gaggle of college kids halfway across the country to spend their spring break lobbying for a law they won't have to live under and likely don't understand?
I notice you out-clicked to my profile picture, and I know what you're thinking, so I'm just going to end it right here: yes, that is Jayne Cobb's hat. My wife taught herself to knit so she could make it for me for Christmas a couple of years ago. She thought of it as a gag gift, but I wear it daily during the winter. Pretty cunning, ain't it?

Now, this next little friend from Washington, D.C. might not be on board with the Howard Alternative Spring Break agenda. I'm just guessing here, but this person came here from Turonistan and clicked out to Days of Our Trailers (Best Blog Name EVAR.) Entirely possible that this particular person may have been enjoying a chuckle at Snuffy's expense.

Fiskings: The Snuffy Edition

From comments by "Anonymous" on "Snuffy Is Coming To Town":
Thanks for your kind words, I've never heard an analysis so unintelligent and ignorant as yours.
Now, I'm going to try not to be too hard on Nonny, because if I read the logs right, s/he is from Washington D.C. and found me by searching for "Annazette Collins gun control." I'm guessing that means Nonny is from Howard University, and might be taking the Alternative Spring Break students' failure to pass gun control in Illinois a little personally. Might be a little upset at Annazette Collins, too. I've mentioned her before; she takes a lot of heat from anti-gun politicians because she voted against HB48 last year and seems to be opposed this year. That would be be bad enough, but Rep. Collins is black, and as long as we're being honest, I'll just go ahead and say it: Democrats like Harry Osterman and activists like Michael "Snuffy" Pfleger think black Democrats owe them. They think a black Democrat from Chicago has to vote for gun control. They don't really think they should have to lobby a black legislator from Chicago, because she should be on their side as a matter of racial purity. They're racists. That's right, I said it. OK, now let's think about the rest of your comments for a moment, Nonny.
The kids from Howard Univeristy actually came to not only mentor kids in local high school, but aid in the fight for tougher gun laws as well. As far as funding, black people have money too, and if I stand correct, I believe these kids were able to raise money from private contributions to help fund the trip.
Yes, I covered that elsewhere. There was a radiothon on WHUR, and I assume other sources chipped in, too. On the other hand, it's safest to assume that anything political that Pfleger does has Joyce Foundation fingerprints on it. Try to remember that the dilettantes from the coast are not my main concern here. They're already back in D.C. dealing with the gritty reality of trying to dumb down their essays enough to make sure their professors understand them. Some of them might notice whether HB48 passes this session, but others probably won't even take it that far. This was their spring break. Pfleger is a larger concern. He's pretty ineffective and fond of shooting himself in the foot, but he's located in Chicago and I'm not, so he has much better access to many more voters than I do. Pfleger didn't hold a radiothon to pay for his buses (or for the yellow school buses that carried Chicago school children to Springfield on a school day to serve as political props . . . . but that's The Chicago Way. You might not know it well D.C., but you will.)
And if you don't feel stupid now, how about Howard University sending bus loads of students to New Orleans, Detroit, Maryland, DC, and VA to tackle similar issues.
I don't feel stupid yet, but the day is young. You, on the other hand, are lying about this particular point. The buses to New Orleans carried kids who worked in NOLA legal offices and worked on repairing flooded areas. The buses to Detroit carried kids who were slated to "work in literacy programs." The buses to the D.C. area were said to be students who planned to "tackle homelessness." Although I doubt they got it completely tackled in one week, the main point is that there was nothing "similar" about these issues. The buses to Chicago carried kids who spent their time doing political lobbying on behalf of an unconstitutional state law. I may be missing the similarity between helping kids learn to read and participating in Snuffy Pfleger's political theater. The bad news, for you, is that the kids who came to Chicago failed to get HB48 passed. There was apparently a plan to pass it with Pfleger's bunch in the gallery cheering, but the votes just weren't there. The good news is that HB48 never had a chance to have any effect on gun violence in Chicago because Chicago gangsters don't obey laws like HB 48 in the first place, so it's no big loss for anyone except the gun control lobby. If the kids who went to New Orleans or Detroit had failed to get anything done, I suspect the impact would have been greater than that.
Not sure where you were educated, but a certificate of completion of Wal-Mart might just suffice.
Suffice for what? Did you intend to write that sentence in English? If you were asking me a question about pedagogy or the middle school concept, my BA in Education from Monmouth College (Knuck Fox!) would be relevant. In this case, it isn't; I just like to brag. Howard is a good school, but if you're looking for someone who's intimidated by a fancy east-coast school, you're looking in the wrong place. You know, as I sit here and think about it, the saddest part occurs to me: if Wal-Mart decided that higher education was profitable and got into the business, they could probably have Howard, Princeton and Monmouth running for their lives in less than five years.
So instead of being an unintelligent critic of people trying to better YOUR community, perhaps you should get stupid ass up and help uplift your community and not wait until students from the east coast come to start talking.
Way ahead of you, my friend--just google "IGOLD." Still, now we're getting somewhere! I'm going to take this suggestion in the positive spirit in which it was offered, and I'm going to get started right now. Actually, I've already started. Let's see:
  • Yesterday, I called Rep. Annazette Collins and commended her on her idea to teach gun safety in Illinois schools, including Chicago. That's a great idea that would probably have an actual, measurable impact on the number of deaths in Chicago. I also made sure she knew I was against HB48; that's important.
  • Today, I will again call this list of Illinois legislators to tell them that HB48 is both pointless and unconstitutional. I will also mention that HB165 (an "assault weapons ban") is pointless, unconstitutional and that HB1966 (an "assault weapons ban" limited to six ZIP codes in Chicago with 90% black populations) is racist, pointless, and unconstitutional. Those "assault weapons bans" are going to get expensive for the state once US v. Heller is incorporated via the 14th Amendment, too, as the state will be paying the attorneys' fees for the plaintiffs.
  • I will make separate calls to my Representative, plus the list linked above, and tell them that it's time to pass HB2257 and establish a shall-issue license to carry system in Illinois. Thanks, Anonymous!
By the way, you're off-message. The theme this year is that Chicago is not "my" community because I'm a white guy from downstate, so what could I know about it? The argument is that Chicago needs gun control because it's so different from downstate (and no pointing out the inherent racism of that argument, please; bad form will not be tolerated!) and the push is for bills like HB1966, which establishes that it is a felony to own several types of guns in six specific Chicago ZIP codes--ZIP codes that are listed in the 2000 census as "90-100% black." (and no pointing out the inherent racism of that law, please!) If the anti-gun lobby started calling Chicago "my" community then "my" voice would be relevant to their gun control debate, and that is precisely the sort of thing they're trying to avoid this year.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Farewell, My Bitchin' Camaro

I went out and started up the Camaro this afternoon just to make sure, and it purred like a kitteh and held 185 degrees rock-steady. Sweet. Between the new muffler, new belts, hoses, water pump, coolant flush and fill, fuel pump, tire repairs, console repair, new struts in the back hatch and a lot of detailing, it was starting to look good even to me. Then I called up "John," our prospective buyer, and told him I'd just started her up and she was running great.

"That's good!" he replied. "I got my friend with me to drive it and I'm actually on my way over there to see you." And he was. He pulled up a few minutes later with the asking price in crisp bank bills. We signed the title over to him, gave him the box and remote control for the stereo (We don't be pimpin' enough to use no remote control for no car stereo, but you never know.) He was excited to get the car; I was excited to get it out of the driveway, and the money comes at a good time, too.

When he left, I thought about the simplicity of our little capitalist free-market transaction. He wanted the car more than he wanted the money--presumably, he thought it was worth more than I was asking, and he felt like he was getting the best of the deal. I wanted the money much more than the car (I've already noticed that the bills take up a lot less room than the car, and I don't have to wonder which neighborhood punk is going to key them tonight.) and would have sold for a little less than he gave me. Nobody had to subsidize the transaction. Nobody had to force us, either. Each side wanted to make a deal, so the deal was made. There are people out there who would say I took advantage of him because I sold him a car for asking price when I would have accepted less, but he was shown every known problem the car had and he still wanted it. I gather he's got a lot more garage space than I do, and I expect to see the car around town in much better shape soon.

There are also people who will say I got taken because he would have paid more. Maybe he would have, but I wanted the car gone ASAP more than I wanted a few extra dollars, so I made some repairs and left the price the same. I didn't get cheated, because I knew what I was doing and chose what was most important to me. If he fixes it up and makes a fantastic ride out of it . . . good for him! The bottom line is that a buyer and a seller found each other, decided that each wanted what the other had, and made a deal to get it in such a way that everyone walked away with a big smile on his face. That's how a free market works, and I can't figure out why it's so controversial.

And with that . . . . goodbye, Bitchin' Camaro. You will be missed . . . because you finally went away.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

HB0048 Wolves at the Door in Illinois

I'm hearing rumors that Harry Osterman (D-Anger Management) has been counting heads and found that he's "2 or 3 votes" away from passing HB0048 in the Illinois House of Representatives. If that sounds comfortable to you, I'd like you to consider what Osterman went through last year. He was sure he had enough votes to pass the same bill, and he brought it up for a floor vote. To his shock, he lost two votes he had been sure were reliably on his side. I don't know if he'd even spoken to those two representatives in the days leading up to the vote. Those two Representatives voted with their constituents and their consciences, sending Osterman's bill down to defeat, and the story I heard was that he was so furious that he confronted Rep. Annazette Collins on the House floor, screaming and ranting like . . . . well, like Harry Osterman, I guess. Anything that can happen to him can happen to us, folks.

We have until Tuesday to flood in the phone calls (don't know who to call? Here's a handy list of Representatives who could potentially vote either way) and FAXes. It's got to be done. And quite frankly, the year that the Heller decision passed, we should be able to sway more legislators than that--they ought to be worried that they're going to cost the state money in the coming lawsuit, but apparently not enough of them are thinking along those lines. I can't help but think that they're not getting enough phone calls.

The Camaro, She Torments Me

My wife got a call yesterday from someone who wants to look at the Camaro and possibly buy it. This is glad news.

What she didn't know was that the day before, I'd run the engine just to keep things charged and lubricated and whatnot, and steam had issued forth. As near as I can tell, the water pump shaft seal let go and coolant is coming out of the weep hole (I can't wait to see what the Google searches look like for the next week now that I have "weep hole" typed here. Twice.) My Bride is picking up a water pump in Springfield today and then we'll see.

I HOPE it's the water pump, because that actually seems pretty straightforward on this model. Last time I was losing coolant, it was a freeze plug, and that one cost me some bucks at a Chevy dealership. If this is the water pump, it's a shade-tree solution.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

20 Years Later, "Assault Weapon" Video Looks Pretty Current

Turk Turon found a video on YouTube that's older than dirt.

I still have the original version of this thing on VHS. It dates from a time when VHS video tape was considered pretty high-tech stuff. It actually predates the passage of the original "Assault Weapons Ban" by several years. If you look closely during the BATF testimony at the end, you can see Senator Paul Simon of Illinois and his famous bow tie on the committee. It was nice having him there because they let the bow tie vote, too, which was good for Illinois if nothing else.

If you don't watch all the way to the end, you miss the BATF spokesman holding up an AK-47 and explaining to the Senators that it works just like a hunting rifle and banning it will require some really difficult definitions . . . . followed by an LAPD representative explaining that criminals converting G3's and AR180's into full-autos is a myth. Classic stuff! I'm glad this video made it onto YouTube.

McKnob Style Mea Culpa

I don't think my wife handles cough syrup very well. She took something last night, and somewhat later in the night there were . . . . stirrings. Being a gentleman, I responded gallantly, gently, and yet with alarming alacrity. It soon became clear that she was in that sort of in-between time before you really wake up, so I proceeded with efforts guaranteed to wake her happily.

Those efforts failed. In the end, I gave up, put my arm around her and went back to sleep. She says she doesn't remember anything but a dream in which someone was, and here I must quote precisely, "gnawing on my face." I debated whether to tell her what really happened or let it remain a bad dream, but in the end I decided to come clean. Did you know that Walgreen's doesn't carry "I apologize for molesting you in your sleep" greeting cards?

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Do Us All a Favor and Phone These Legislators

As you love me, dear friends . . . . as you love yourselves, your posterity, and your liberty, call these people and simply say "Please vote no on HB 48 and all other gun control in the House." It's coming up for a vote today or tomorrow, and it would eliminate private firearm sales in Illinois completely. Borrowing a shotgun from your dad to go hunting would require the same FFL transfer process as the federal government currently requires when you buy a handgun from a seller in another state--AND it would limit the FFL to a $10 fee for his services, which means he's not going to be offering that service for long.

If you're not from Illinois, don't feel bad. The Rev. "Snuffy" Pfleger, who last year threatened to "snuff out the legislators who are voting against our gun legislation" is going to be in Springfield today, and he's bringing along 70 college kids from New Jersey and Washington, D.C. to lobby for HB 48. If you're from New Jersey or Florida or Minnesota, you have every right to match their efforts, and I'd consider it a personal favor. If any office staff seem surprised that you're calling from out of state, you might mention the carpet-baggers from the east coast lobbying for the other side today.

Thank you all!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Snuffy Is Coming to Town

"Snuffy" Pfleger (remember him?) is coming to Springfield tomorrow. It seems he's decided to have a lobbying day of his very own. I could have warned him that it's a lot of work, but maybe if the Joyce Foundation pays the freight, it's not so bad. He's telling people he'll have a group of 350 people boarding buses in Chicago tomorrow morning; we shall see. More interesting to me is the group that's getting as much or more media attention: a group of students from Howard and Princeton Universities who are spending their spring break "fighting gun violence in Chicago." I thought maybe they were going into the schools in Chicago and making peace between the gangs, but apparently they haven't had time for that. Then I thought maybe they were staking out street corners and preaching love and understanding to the Folks and the Peoples, but I was wrong again.

No, instead they're calling Illinois legislators and telling them to support HB 48, the bill that abolishes what remain of private transfers of handguns in Illinois. HB 48 requires that anyone who sells, gives, or loans a handgun to anyone else in Illinois go to an FFL, transfer the gun to the FFL, have him call in the NCIS background check and hold the gun for the required waiting period, then transfer it to the new owner. Even worse, the FFL is mandated to do all this work and waiting for $10, so he's getting screwed just as hard as the buyer and the seller. Egalitarianism at its finest, you might say. Since these kids aren't from Illinois, it's possible that they don't understand what they're lobbying to do. Basically, they're asking to add another layer of background checks less extensive than the first layer Illinois already uses. Since they don't seem to think the first layer does much good (or don't even realize it's there) I'm not sure what they expect the second layer to do. For those unfamiliar with the Illinois system, all Illinois residents need a FOID card to purchase, own, use or possess firearms or ammunition of any kind. In order to get your FOID card, you submit all your personal information, which is used to run an extensive background check--mental health, criminal records, NCIS, all the rest--a process which currently averages around 70 days despite the time limit of 30 days set in the statute. Once you jump through all those hoops, your FOID is issued, but your name then goes into the pile of names that are checked daily to see if any matches come up with the aforementioned databases. If you match one of the naughty databases, your FOID will be revoked. This has not stopped Illinois from outpacing every contiguous state in violent crime, murder, and crimes committed with guns by a wide margin, but the thinking seems to be that if we just run the background check one more time, all that can change.

Frankly, I'm puzzled at this strategy. It seems to me that these kids could have made phone calls from their respective universities without traveling to Chicago for a week. Don't they have phone service in New Jersey and Washington, D.C. nowadays? I would have thought that the best reason to travel here for a week would have been to do something in person, but it looks like the only thing they're going to do in person is ride a bus to Springfield and lobby for another layer of background checks. I shouldn't be puzzled. This is the oldest trick in the book. People want to feel they're doing something about an intractable problem, but the real solutions are hard and dangerous. Going after the people who are actually dangerous to kids in Chicago is too much to ask; those people are dangerous. Someone could get hurt. Going after some middle-aged mom in the suburbs and making it harder for her to own a weapon won't do anything to the gang soldier on the south side, but at least it's safe to pick on law-abiding citizens.

One last thought--it would be interesting to know whether these kids had any help with their travel expenses from, for example, the Joyce Foundation, wouldn't it? I'm just wondering why kids from New Jersey and Washington, D.C. felt the need to travel to Chicago to push gun control when their own areas are such havens for the idea . . . . if anyone was wondering whether Illinois would be a national battleground this year, I think the answer is clear now.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

NRA News Report on IGOLD

Cameron Gray from NRA News rode one of the buses from the Chicago area to Springfield to follow the IGOLD meetings and marches. This is part one of his report:

Is that cool or what? Just a couple of notes.

1. At about 8:30 on the video, Cameron talks to a young boy in a yellow hat who is helping carry the ISRA banner. That kid wasn't just there because his daddy dragged him to some dumb rally; he's a dedicated shooter who gets to the Springfield Tactical Shooters' Thursday night events a lot more often than I do. His dad is currently having a rifle built by the world-famous Bill Oglesby for him to use at his first Appleseed shoot this summer. I'll be surprised if he doesn't make rifleman.

2. At about 5:50 or so, Cameron talks to a woman who makes the perfect case for why she's marching. She just does an excellent job of explaining the real reason the 2nd Amendment matters, and it's not duck hunting or skeet.

3. The tongue depressors Cameron finds unbelievable are not exaggerating the advice the Illinois State Police give to women. As a matter of fact, that advice has been up for years, and I've never gotten anyone at the ISP who would admit that they have anything to do with it, but it's also never been taken down. It's still there today. Look and see for yourself, but again, at least one good wrap of duct tape around the cranium is recommended. They're not joking about this, folks.

So, the much-hated HB45 is being "tabled" by its sponsor? That's progress. I doubt very much that the NRA lobbyist (whose name is actually "Vandermyde") trusts that this bill is actually hors de combat, and I know I don't, but it's a good sign. The bigger threat is still HB48, which also made it out of the Executive Committee that day, and its sponsor is Harry Osterman (D-Arkham Asylum), a fanatic who screams at people who don't vote with him, so I doubt education is going to be enough this time. I was really happy to see someone visiting his pro-gun legislator and thanking him for his support on this video. I get so tired of hearing people say, "I don't need to go to that--my guy always votes pro-gun!" Well, sure, he votes that way now. My Senator and Representative in the state legislature are both pro-CCW and usually vote our way, too, but I want things to stay that way, so I make sure they get thanked for their work. I want them to know that we're out here and that we are not ungrateful.

Does Your Lie Count If I Don't Pretend to Believe It?

The latest column from the Atlanta Gun Rights Examiner discusses the perplexing case of Bearden v. Atlanta. Tim Bearden sued the city of Atlanta; he contends that a new Georgia law establishes that it is unlawful to prohibit CCW license holders from carrying concealed firearms on public transportation, including buses, trains, and in airports (at least the unsecured zones.) The City of Atlanta argues that the new law was not intended to apply to airports, and therefore its ban on carrying weapons in Atlanta's airport and its parking lots still stands. The court agreed with the city, upholding Atlanta's prohibition on the grounds that the bill Bearden cites was never intended to apply to airports.

Sounds pretty straightforward unless you know that Tim Bearden was the legislator who wrote the law. Read the whole thing, but duct tape your head first to avoid explosion.

"This is what the law means."
"Nuh uh."
"Well. . . . but . . . . I wrote the law."
"Yeah, I know. Whattya want, a cookie?"
"Well, no, but . . . I mean, I remember writing the law."
"I remember doing your mom. Do I get a prize, too?"
"That's really not . . . look I remember writing the law, and I remember choosing my words carefully so that it would apply to the airport."
"I'm sure you honestly believe that, but on the other hand, no you didn't."
"I'm pretty sure I did. Plus, we debated that bill on the floor, and the airport issue came up. I said it then, too."
"You're confused. You look tired. You're getting . . . . sleeeepy."
"Nothing. Are we done here?"
"You're just going to keep saying weird things and stonewalling, aren't you?"
"We could talk about your mom some more."
"Yeah, we're done."

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Remember, Media Bias Does Not Exist

A few years ago, the annual "Lobbying Day" for the ISRA was a small affair. Then the ISRA decided that it was possible to grow it into a signature event, and they began putting a lot more effort into it and asking for more effort from others as well. The event did grow year by year, going from an event of a hundred people or so to 300, to 500, to 750, and so on. The year before last, they had over 1,000 people and were thrilled. Last year, it drew about 2,500 people. Through all that time, television, radio and print news ignored the event almost completely. Tom Shafer, Gadfly in Chief of the Sangamon County Rifle Association, contacted the news director at WICS TV 20 in Springfield to ask, in his own inimitable fashion, why the station had chosen not to cover such an event.

"I told her, look at that picture and tell me that ain't news!" Tom says. "A march of people for a cause, shuts down all the streets it passes, fills up the capitol outside and in, people marching for a civil right, and that ain't news? That's crazy!"

"You're right," he says he was told, "that's news, and we should have been there. I'll have somebody there for sure this year."

Well, the good news is that they did send someone to cover the event. The bad news is that they used very little of the video they took. The rest of the piece was filled in with stock footage of a local gun shop. The really bad news is that they used the voiceover to turn the piece into a chance to take a pot shot at those crazy, paranoid gun cranks:
"Thousands of gun rights supporters marched through downtown Springfield Wednesday to make their point clear, they want to be able to carry guns on them wherever they go.

Governor Pat Quinn, House Speaker Michael Madigan, and Senate President John Cullerton do not support conceal and carry.

Gun rights activists are optimistic, however, because three different conceal and carry bills have passed through legislative committees this year.

After the gun rights rally, thousands went inside the Capitol to lobby lawmakers to support conceal and carry.

We checked with the secretary of state's office to see if anyone tried to bring a gun into the capitol to prove a point.

An S.O.S. spokesman says they didn't find anyone."
Really? After years of coming to the capitol in ever-increasing numbers, lobbying lawmakers in a peaceful fashion, and developing a friendly relationship with the Secretary of State police officers who guard the place . . . . gun owners did the same thing again this year? Shocking. That's really news, all right.

Now, here's the real crux of the story: it doesn't really matter what they said. They can insert whatever snide, insulting commentary they want. The truth is that we didn't need them in order to grow the event. We didn't depend on their "news" coverage to go from a few hundred to 1000 to 2500 to 3500 citizen lobbyists traveling to the capitol on their own dimes, paying their own ways, not getting even the proverbial free lunch. We did it all without them, and they have nothing we really need to offer and nothing to withold. The bottom line is that it doesn't matter what they say about us, because the important part is that they were forced to say anything at all. They can insult us, but they can't ignore us.

Hey, don't forget about IGOLD 2010. Wednesday, March 10, 2010 at the state capitol building in Springfield. Be there!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

IGOLD Was a Blast!

I'm going to go ahead and estimate the crowd at around 3,500, which is lower than a lot of estimates out there. I've seen estimates over 5,000, but I'm going to have to stand firm on this one. As far as I'm concerned, the important thing is that we filled up the convention center, we filled up the streets of Springfield, and we filled the Capitol to bursting. Valinda Rowe gave a great speech, complete with her display of the gift the Concealed Carry Chicks made to present to Governor Quinn, a presentation plaque mounted with the three weapons the Illinois State Police recommend women use for self-defense:
  1. A key.
  2. A comb.
  3. A tongue depressor.
Colleen Lawson spoke movingly, too, and state legislators like Brandon Phelps and Senator Carter gave fairly fiery talks. Todd Vandermyde, the NRA's lobbyist in Springfield, covered the anti-gunner's gambit of pushing key anti-gun bills into easy committees and passing them out to the floor this morning before IGOLD. It's so much fun listening to him describe pro-gun lobbying in his Blues Brothers accent . . . I keep expecting to hear "I hate Illinois Nazis." He summed up the morning's action in the Capitol in two sentences:
"They just fired the first shot of Campaign 2010. They started it, and we're going to finish it!"
Tom Shafer shouted himself near-hoarse as he exhorted the crowd to go march, as is tradition, and off we went marching merrily through the streets. The Springfield Police Department had the entire route closed to all traffic, which really helped us stay safe. They did a great job and were very professional. We thanked them all, and a few of them thanked us in return. Come to think of it, the Capitol security, Secretary of State Police, and even the bus drivers made a point of thanking us. Manners go a long way.

One thing I noticed this year was the tendency for rumors to spread rapidly through the crowd. I went on more than one wild goose chase today! Here are some of my favorites:
  • "Wisconsin's Senate just passed their concealed carry bill! They're just waiting on the Governor's signature, and then we'll be the only state without license to carry!" This turned out to be . . . well, I'm still not sure how it turned out. I haven't been able to find any information about the bill or passage in the Wisconsin Senate, so I'm guessing it was just a rumor. It's true that 48 states have some legal concealed carry, and Wisconsin and Illinois are the last two. However, some of those states have terrible CCW laws.
  • "Jesse Jackson is coming today with four busloads of counter-protesters!" This one was widely believed, and marshals and hosts were instructed to keep everyone from engaging protesters. "Keep smiling!" was the advice. As it turned out, this one was false. Jackson did have a press conference, but it was in Chicago. When your opposition has 3,000-4,000 people willing to take a day off work and travel on their own dimes, it just doesn't make sense to show up with a couple of hundred people and try to shout them down.
  • "Do you know what Pfleger looks like?" This wasn't much of a rumor, but a concerned man did ask me that question. There was a priest wearing his collar at the event, and although this guy was young with dark hair, he was worried that maybe Snuffy Pfleger had come in to make trouble. Of course, if Pfleger had shown up in the convention center, we'd have smiled at him and gone about our business.
  • "They just called a special committee session on gun legislation!" aka
  • "Representative Phelps had to rush out because there was a Blackberry message that they're about to hold a special caucus on gun bills!" aka
  • "Hey, guys, my rep says there's a special committee session on guns right now in Room 212. Let's go!" These three variations amounted to the same thing, and apparently they were all false. The damage had been done at that point.
  • "The bus driver from Effingham says we have to get all the flags off his bus right now, but he left, so we don't know which bus it is or where he is!" I personally ran all over creation and bugged ten different bus drivers before I found the right bus . . . only to find that the driver from Effingham hadn't heard this particular rumor. All the flags had been loaded on two other buses, and those bus drivers had gotten lots of help unloading the flappy supplies. The good news was that there was no problem. The bad news was that it took me about a half hour of frantically chasing my tail to find out that there was no problem. The other bad news was that, once we reported to the owner that his flags were not missing after all, he reported to us that he had lost his keys. In the Prairie Capital Convention Center. But it was OK, because the keys were in a black "IGOLD Host" hat . . . . and there couldn't have been more than 100 of those in the building. Piece of cake.
  • "There's somebody missing on one of the buses, and somebody said a guy fell on the steps today and got taken to the hospital in an ambulance!" This one turned out to be true, more or less. The Secretary of State Police worked very hard with us over the phone to confirm that a man with the same name as the missing bus rider had been sent off in an ambulance during the day, and they had a record of the hospital to which he'd been taken. Then the duty nurses in the emergency room made sure we were able to get in touch with the patient and find out what he needed. The last time I talked to him, he was basically OK, but he was sure he would be at the hospital in Springfield overnight. They'd been unable to contact his family so far, but he was confident that one of his relatives would come and pick him up--don't forget, this guy's still got a two-hour drive home, and he missed his bus! He's got my number if all else fails, though. If nobody from his family can get him home, we'll figure something out. It's only a couple of hours away.
I'm going to end this now because, frankly, I'm exhausted. Tomorrow I'd like to attempt a list of people to be thanked. It will be lengthy, but that's only a problem for blogs with readers.

IGOLD 2009 Commences

I'm heading out the door in a moment to drop the baby off and get to IGOLD. I just wanted to take a moment to thank everyone who is working to make the event possible. We were standing in the Prairie Capital Convention Center last night just looking at all the seats, and it was a bit of a thrill. The weather should be cold but clear and beautiful today, perfect for marching, which is kind of a relief after the monsoon rains last night.

I'd also like to take this opportunity to apologize to Thirdpower's wife and assure her that I really didn't mean to call in the middle of the night last night. Sorry!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Why Should You Be at IGOLD? Watch This:

The video was created by Colleen Lawson, who along with her husband, David, and her co-plaintiffs David Orlov and Otis McDonald, is putting herself on the line for your gun rights wherever you live in the United States. If you've been following the saga of D.C. v. Heller, you've no doubt heard the argument that the decision does not affect gun laws in Chicago or New York or Los Angeles, because D.C. is a "federal enclave" and the Heller decision did not "incorporate" the 2nd Amendment. Well, Colleen, along with others, is suing the City of Chicago and arguing that the 2nd Amendment must be incorporated. Her lawyer, Alan Gura, is the same man who argued and won the Heller case in front of the Supreme Court, and she and the other plaintiffs have a pretty good chance of prevailing, though it may take another Supreme Court argument to do it. When that happens, the Heller decision's landmark gutting of gun control becomes a restriction on every city, county and state in the union.

Colleen Lawson will be at IGOLD. I will be at IGOLD. You should be at IGOLD. If you can't be there, please donate or make some phone calls (I've put the contact lists for Illinois legislators in the posts preceding this one.) Illinois is in many ways a national battleground this year. If you want to fight anti-gun forces on their own turf, in a place where winning means rolling back gun control rather than just stopping the newest schemes, then Illinois is going to be a place to watch for the next several years. Don't miss it.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Illinois House of Reps Voice Mail Down Already?

I hope this is a good sign; I tried to call the list of fence-sitting Representatives posted below tonight, knowing I would have to leave voice mails, and it only one person actually had a voice mail system answering (his message explained that the recent mailer about him was deceptive, and that he had indeed called for Roland Burris to resign. Only in Illinois.)

Could it be that the House phone system is already hors de combat? If so, that didn't take long. I hope it was clear that it was gun owners who crashed it; we might have competition from the Burris-haters this year.

contact List for Senate Criminal Law Committee

Oh, look, it's another "assault weapons ban." How original.
SB1721. If you didn't know what it was about, you could look at the sponsors' list and realize something bad must be in there somewhere. A lot of the members of this committee are not friendly, but light up their phone lines anyway, please.

Senate Criminal Law committee
Michael Noland(217) 782-7746D
Kwame Raoul(217) 782-5338D
William R. Haine(217) 782-5247D
Dan Kotowski(217) 782-3875D
A. J. Wilhelmi(217) 782-8800D
John J. Millner(217) 782-8192R
Tim Bivins(217) 782-0180R
Kirk W. Dillard(217) 782-8148R
Dale A. Righter(217) 782-6674R

Contact List for House State Government Committee

The State Government Administration Committee will hear HB 4243, which would create a database of all firearms transactions. I think there's very little chance that this isn't already being done by simply storing the NCIS check information . . . . but this bill would make it official. It's worth defeating.

House State Government Administration Committee
Jack D. Franks(217) 782-1717D
Lisa M. Dugan(217) 782-5981D
Ronald A. Wait(217) 782-0548R
Suzanne Bassi(217) 782-8026R
Mike Boland(217) 782-3992D
Mike Bost(217) 782-0387R
William D. Burns(217) 782-2023D
Annazette Collins(217) 782-8077D
Fred Crespo(217) 782-0347D
Monique D. Davis(217) 782-0010D
Keith Farnham(217) 782-8020D
Paul D. Froehlich(217) 782-3725D
Emily McAsey(217) 782-4179D
Donald L. Moffitt(217) 782-8032R
Richard P. Myers(217) 782-0416R
Raymond Poe(217) 782-0044R
Harry R. Ramey, Jr.(217) 558-1037R

Contact List for House Executive Committee

The Illinois House Executive Committee has several anti-gun bills on their agenda, and this is a committee that I would consider friendly to anti-gun legislation. Even so, they need to hear from us.
  • HB180 has been covered at Days of Our Trailers. It would essentially create a "may-issue" license system for gun dealers--if the state refused to issue a dealer a license, he would be unable to deal in handguns in Illinois, period. The only thing worse than another layer of permits for FFL's to wade through is to make the system shall-issue so that the state police can arbitrarily refuse a license to anyone they don't like!
  • HB165 is the old favorite, an assault weapons ban. Again. Sponsored by Edward Acevedo, a corrupt Chicago "police officer" . . . again. Last time I heard Acevedo try to justify an assault weapons ban he was sponsoring, he had to admit he didn't know what was in the bill and hadn't read it.
  • HB12 mandates a limit of one gun per month. I can't afford a gun a year, much less one per month, but if I find a deal in two different places less than a month apart, that's nobody's business but mine.
  • HB867 makes it a felony to possess or transport a firearm in certain places. Not only one public transportation (so no legal guns on buses or trains, folks) but also anywhere within 1000 feet of such transportation, or public housing, or housing agency property. Get pulled over with a legal gun you are legally transporting, and you'd better hope you pulled over before you got to the block in front of the section 8 house or the Amtrak station. Otherwise, you're technically a felon. Does that make sense?
Remember, be polite . . . but be heard.

House Executive Committee


Springfield Office

Daniel J. Burke(217) 782-1117D
Joseph M. Lyons217) 782-8400D
Dan Brady(217) 782-1118R
Edward J. Acevedo(217) 782-2855D
Luis Arroyo(217) 782-0480D
Maria Antonia Berrios(217) 558-1032D
Bob Biggins(217) 782-6578R
Robert Rita(217) 558-1000D
Ed Sullivan, Jr.(217) 782-3696R
Michael W. Tryon(217) 782-0432R
Arthur L. Turner(217) 782-8116D

Representative Contact List for HB48

These are Representatives the NRA and ISRA believe are wavering on HB48; at least some of these people could go either way. We need these votes! Call these people and let them know that when HB48 comes to the floor, their jobs are on the line. You might recall that Reps. Cole and Reboletti were targeted by the ICHV and the Brady Campaign with a mass-mailing campaign intended to unseat them. You might even remember that it backfired terribly, with more gun owners calling Cole and Reboletti in support than anyone else. Cole and Reboletti learned a lesson that time about who really cares about this issue. We need to do it again this year!

Representative Suzanne Bassi (R-47th District)
(217) 782-8026
(217) 782-5257 FAX;

Representative Patricia Bellock (R-54th District)
(217) 782-2289 FAX;

Representative Bob Biggins (R-41st District)
(217) 782-6578
(217) 782-5257 FAX;

Representative John Cavaletto (R-107th District)
(217) 782-0066
(217) 782-1336 FAX;

Representative Sandy Cole (R-62nd District)
(217) 782-7320
(217) 782-1275 FAX;

Representative Michael Connelly (R-48th District)
(217) 782-8028
(217) 557-0571 FAX (?);

Representative Keith Farnham (R-43rd District)
(217) 782-8020
(no Springfield FAX listed);

Representative Mike Fortner (R-95th District)
(217) 782-1653
(no Springfield FAX listed);

Representative Paul Froelich (D-56th District)
(217) 782-3725
(217) 557-6271 FAX;

Representative Jehan Gordon (D-92nd District)
(217) 782-3186;

Representative Kay Hatcher (R-50th District)
(217) 782-1486;

Representative Eddie Lee Jackson, Sr. (D-114th)
(217) 782-5951
(217) 782-8794 FAX;

Representative Charles Jefferson (D-67th District)
(217) 782-3167
(217) 557-7654 FAX;

Representative Sidney Mathias (R-53rd District)
(217) 782-1664
(217) 782-1275 FAX;

Representative Emily McAsey (D-85th District)
(217) 782-4179
(217) 557-7204 FAX;

Representative Sandra Pihos (R-42nd District)
(217) 782-8037
(217) 558-1072 FAX;

Representative Harry Ramey (R-55th District)
(217) 558-1037
(217) 782-5257 FAX;

Representative Dennis Reboletti (R-46th District)
(217) 782-4014;

Representative Al Riley (D-38th District)
(217) 558-1007
(217) 558-1664 FAX);

Representative Darlene Senger (R-96th District)
(217) 782-5257 FAX (?);

Representative Ed Sullivan Jr. (R-51st District)
(217) 782-3696
(217) 782-1275 FAX;

Representative Mark Walker (D-66th District)
(217) 782-3739

Public Health Committee Contact List for SB1976

These are the members of the Public Health Committee. Some are friends, some are enemies, but this year of all years, we need to be in touch with both! Please give these people a call or a FAX. (The Springfield Office numbers are the best to use during session, but I'm leaving the others here because Molly B. from IllinoisCarry was nice enough to send them all and they may be useful later.)

Senator William Delgado
Springfield Office
217-557-3930 FAX
Chicago Office
773-292-1903 FAX

Senator Mattie Hunter
Springfield Office
District Office
312-949-1958 FAX

Senator Susan Garrett
Springfield, IL
District Office
847-433-8002 FAX

Senator Michael Noland
Springfield, IL
217-782-7746 (corrected)
217-782-2115 FAX
District Office
847-214-8867 FAX

Senator Jeffrey M. Schoenburg
Springfield Office
District Office
847-492-1202 FAX

Senator Heather Steans
Springfield Office
District Office

Senator Dave Syverson
Springfield Office
District Office
815-987-7563 FAX

Senator Dan Cronin
Springfield Office
District Office
630-792-8620 FAX

Senator Chris Lauzen
Springfield Office
District Office
630-264-1566 FAX

Senator Carole Pankau
Springfield Office
217-557-3908 FAX
District Office
630-582-0391 FAX

How YOU Can Help With IGOLD '09 If You Can't Be There

NOTE: This is not complete; check back later for more; I've got to take the baby to a doctor's appointment at the moment, but there are more people to call. You can always check http://www.isra.org too.

It appears that the anti-gun side in Illinois has decided that it's a good idea to call a wad of their bills on the same morning as IGOLD. I can't say I recommend this, but they're on such a roll lately, it's hard to argue with 'em. I guess.

You didn't forget about IGOLD 2009, did you? Even if you're not from Illinois, if you enjoy upsetting anti-gun lobbyists and politicians, you can always help sponsor the event. This year there's a "Sponsor" level being offered; for $100, you become a sponsor and get a spiffy "IGOLD Sponsor" hat. It's not a $100 hat, but it is measurably spiffy and well-made. Mine even fits on my giant head, which is not, I assure you, built to standard specifications.
Anyway, if you'd like to be a sponsor, you can always go to the IGOLD sponsorship page to donate. If you can't afford $100 right now, you can donate any amount you want--or you can purchase raffle tickets to win a Springfield "Loaded" M1 Garand, a DS Arms M4-AR15 carbine, or a Remington shotgun.

The other thing you can do whether you're coming to IGOLD or not, especially all you Illinois gun owners, is to make some phone calls and send some emails. The NRA's lobbyist in Springfield, Todd Vandermyde, told ISRA members recently that Illinois legislators have come to rely on email more than phone calls (which are still great) or paper mail (which they say is just too slow and goes through too much security to do much good.) We need to be contacting the members of committees that will be hearing these anti-gun bills, and we also need to remind friends and enemies alike that we have four License to Carry bills (and counting) going to the floor for a debate and vote soon. If you can't be there, you can do a huge amount of good by lighting up the phone lines. A simple statement like "My name is X, I live X, and I hope Representative So-and-So is going to vote against HR 48 because it's unconstitutional and unworkable" is fine. Remember that the staff doesn't vote, and they don't necessarily agree with their bosses, but they deal with the public on the phone all day long and they tend to be friendly and helpful--so it's best for us to be friendly, too.

Links for those who need a list of phone numbers to call for each bill. Good bills:
Bad bills:
  • HB48 would completely outlaw "private" gun sales in Illinois. I have to have the quotes there, since there really are no "private" sales in Illinois now, what with the FOID card requirements and the waiting periods, but this bill would require that every sale go through an FFL just like a transfer from one state to another. It would also cap the FFL's charge at $10 per transfer, thus mandating that FFLs lose money on every transfer. This bill is out of committee and headed to the floor for a vote, and the ISRA has put together a list of Representatives who are on the fence and need to hear from us.