May 29, 2020
By Mark Chestnut
The Illinois Legislature reconvened recently, and a major anti-gun bill held over from last session is likely to be considered soon. Depending on the outcome, Illinois’ law-abiding gun owners could find their dwindling rights even more curtailed.
One thing the measure would do is criminalize the private transfer of firearms, designating violations as a Class 4 felony. According to Illinois statute, a Class 4 felony is punishable by one to three years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000. And because anyone convicted of it would be a felon, they’d also lose their Second Amendment-protected right to own a gun.
Another part of the bill would allow for the indefinite delay of firearm transfers. When the so-called “instant” background check was instituted, lawmakers smartly added a clause allowing a licensed firearm dealer (FFL) to release a firearm after three business days if they have not received any additional correspondence after receiving a “delay” when conducting the initial background check. This is extremely important as it prevents the potential shutdown of sales by creating endless delays.
Ironically, while Democrats at the capitol in Springfield, Illinois, are actively seeking indefinite delays, such delays were the topic of a straightforward letter sent from several concerned Republican lawmakers to FBI Director Christopher Ray a few weeks back.
“NICS was designed to provide a quick and accurate determination about whether a person can lawfully purchase a firearm from a federally licensed firearms dealer,” the senators wrote. “Any unreasonable and unnecessary delay beyond the three business days unlawfully impedes the exercise of a person’s fundamental constitutional right."
Another section of the anti-gun bill would quadruple the cost of getting a Firearm Owners Identification (FOID) card, necessary to own a gun in the state. This provision would reduce the duration of the FOID from 10 to five years, while at the same time doubling the fee from $10 to $20. Such a move would make gun ownership even more difficult for those on fixed incomes, like many law-abiding men and women living in some of Chicago’s most dangerous neighborhoods.
Yet another provision of the legislation would require FOID applicants to pay all costs for fingerprinting and processing of the background check, totaling around $150 on top of the increased application fee—another slap in the face to those on fixed incomes who only want to be able to own the best means by which to protect themselves and their families.
The folks in Springfield would do well to take a look at their own city of Chicago to see what passing more and more restrictive gun laws will do to a community. According to reports out of the Windy City, an increase in shootings last weekend made it the deadliest Memorial Day weekend in years, despite the mayor’s shelter-at-home order. By Monday morning, 36 people had been shot, nine fatally. Last year, there were 34 people shot and seven killed over the entire three-day weekend.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said just last Friday that she might extend her stay-at-home order past May 28. That’s ironic, considering that her order is being heeded about as well as the current laws against murder and assault.
Freelance writer and editor Mark Chesnut is the owner/editorial director at Red Setter Communications LLC. An avid hunter, shooter and political observer, he has been covering Second Amendment issues and politics on a near-daily basis for the past 20 years.