It was only a few years ago that the Illinois General Assembly legalized the use of suppressors for state and local law enforcement. Yesterday, the National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action took the lead role in helping nudge forward a bill to allow civilian ownership and use of suppressors through a hostile Illinois Senate Judiciary committee so it can get a free and fair final concurrence vote on the floor of the Senate for final approval.
Senate Bill 206 would allow suppressors for all gun owners in Illinois, not just those in law enforcement. Illinois stands as the only state between the coasts that prohibits civilian ownership of what are in essence mufflers for guns.
Along with the bill’s sponsor, Senator Gary Forby (D), Todd Vandermyde, the NRA-ILA’s dedicated man in Illinois testified before the committee, but he wasn’t alone. The NRA-ILA’s Illinois liaison Shannon Alford sat right behind him and I was close by as well, as Guns Save Life‘s Executive Director. The Illinois State Rifle Association‘s Executive Director Richard Pearson was there along with Whitney O’Daniel from the National Shooting Sports Foundation.
We were there as a team working together with Jay Keller from the Illinois Firearms Manufacturing Association to ensure the defeat of a gun dealer licensing bill and a proposal to serialize ammunition at a scheduled Illinois House hearing. Those bills’ sponsors chose not to have their bills heard in committee.
At the same time, someone with some juice decided to add a last-minute hearing on the suppressor bill to the schedule with less than two hours’ notice, probably in hopes that they could kill the bill off even though it had already passed both chambers earlier in the year. It needed a concurrence vote on the floor after the House tweaked it slightly.
The anti-gun folks showed up — including the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence and G-PAC, the Gun Violence Prevention PAC — in a last-ditch effort to work with the anti-gun leadership of the Senate to kill off the common sense bill once and for all in this session’s final days.
ICHV’s argument is that the bill would allow “us” to kill “our” children silently. Never mind that they couldn’t point to a single homicide anywhere in Illinois (or in any other state) that had been committed with a registered can.
G-PAC’s argument is that federally licensed and strictly-regulated gun stores are freely selling guns to bad guys and this bill would allow more sales to more bad guys. As if a gun shop owner or employee would risk 20-plus years in federal prison to make a few bucks on an illegal sale out the back door.
The behind-the-scenes work by the NRA and other gun rights orgs is a prime example of how hard work and dedication on the ground is what gets good legislation passed and keeps bad legislation at bay. If you think that the fact that Democrats had a bad election year means the gun control industry is dead and gone, think again. Which is why the NRA continues to need your support. Your dollars, along with your votes at election time are what keep them at the forefront of battling our opponents at both the state and national levels.