This website’s called The Truth About Guns. But the name is deceptive. While myself and the other writers do our best to tell the truth about guns, we are ready, willing and able to accept the fact that we may be totally wrong. About anything. That’s how you get to the truth: by remaining alert to alternative points of view. Comparing, contrasting, debating and modifying your views as and when you realize you’re a big dope, really. In the gun world, there are plenty of “absolutists.” People who believe that Americans have the right to bear arms and . . . that’s it. While they respect laws against criminal acts (and how), they believe that U.S citizens should be able to buy, own and carry any weapon anywhere anytime for any reason. Debate over. Backing away from that, there’s the gun owning right wing . . .
We’re talking about people who believe that it should be OK to buy, own anything; but it’s also OK to keep guns out of schools, churches, court rooms and other public and private places. Well, mostly the private ones. If the person who owns the property so desires. It’s also OK to stop criminals from owning legal guns, but what the hell good is THAT going to do you? Even if they agree with restrictions, they worry that the government will use them to do something tyrannical. As governments are wont to do.
And then there are mainstream gun owners and gun sympathetic non-owners. This silent majority (hat tip: Patrick Buchanan) are not all that happy about private citizens having relatively easy access to “assault rifles” or rounds that can pierce anti-ballistic clothing. Voters who don’t mind if aspiring gun owners have to jump through a few regulatory hoops, as some of them did. The hoops should probably be less difficult, but they’re generally good with the whole hoop deal.
In the run up to the Supreme Court decision on Chicago’s gun ban, which will redirect its antagonists to federal court, gun owners/media on the right wing are on the lookout for an end-run. They’re scanning for Illinois’ proposed rules or regs for anything that would restrict their citizen’s right to bear arms.
The unnamed brains behind learnaboutguns.com falls squarely in that camp, along with (you guessed it) the National Rifle Association (NRA). To wit: he’s sent out an alert asking readers to contact their elected reps re: these Illinois “anti gun bills” currently in legislative development hell.
House Bill 6123, which is in the House Judiciary II – Criminal Law Committee, could be taken up this week. This bill, introduced by anti-gun State Representative Harry Osterman (D-14), seeks to create a confusing new felony offense for “knowingly” supplying a “street gang member” with a firearm. A “street gang member” is vaguely defined in the Illinois Streetgang Terrorism Omnibus Prevention Act, and this new legislation is undoubtedly intended to capitalize on the fears the general public has for words like “street gang” and “terrorism.”
The language contained in HB6123 is also incorporated into Senate Bill 3632 and Senate Bill 3709 by State Senator Dan Kotowski (D-33), which also may get a push this week. Senator Kotowski’s bills go even further than Representative Osterman’s, though, as they would also outlaw most private transfers of handguns, requiring they be processed through a federally licensed firearms dealer (FFL). Both SB3632 and SB3709 have been assigned to the Senate Criminal Law Committee.
Representative Osterman also has House Bill 5480 ready to be taken up by the House Executive Committee. This bill contains language to prohibit most private transfers of handguns, like Senator Kotowski’s bills, but removes the “street gang” language.
Finally, House Bill 5495, introduced by State Representative William Burns (D-26), is also in the House Executive Committee. HB5480 would prohibit law-abiding citizens from purchasing more than one handgun in a 30-day period.
My question to you, should you have made it this far, which I guess you have: should the pro-gun right dial it down a bit? I know the NRA offers its own sensible recommendations for gun control, but shouldn’t pro-gun semi-absolutists seek active engagement with gun control folk? Both sides share a desire to lower crime, prevent accidents, remove guns from criminals and live in a safe society. In other words, WHY CAN’T WE ALL JUST GET ALONG?
See? I am deluded.