Illinois

Illinois: Slate of Gun Bills on the Move by Charles Yeganian

Illinois has been one of the busiest states so far this year when it comes to introducing firearm-related legislation, both good and bad. Action was taken yesterday on the following bills, all of which are being tracked and graded by LEAP Forward:

Introduced

HB 2253 - Creates a new article in the Criminal Code for offenses regarding undetectable and untraceable firearms.

HB 2396 - Ties the fee for a license to sell firearms to the number of firearms that dealer sells per year.

HB 2507 - Cuts the cost of renewing a concealed carry permit from $150 to $100, and cuts the amount of money from permitting fees going to the Mental Health Reporting Fund from $20 to $15.

SB 1488 - Allows firearms in public parts and public athletic facilities.

SB 1489 - Allows firearms in rest areas.

SB 1497 - Assault weapons ban

Assigned to the House Judiciary Committee

✅ HB 1490 - “Provides that a person who receives a revocation or suspension notice under the Act (currently, only revocation notice) shall, within 48 hours of receiving notice of the revocation or suspension: (1) surrender his or her Firearm Owner's Identification Card to the local law enforcement agency where the person resides; and (2) complete a Firearm Disposition Record on a form prescribed by the Department of State Police and place his or her firearms in the location or with the person reported in the Firearm Disposition Record. “

HB 1586 - Requires that all handgun ammunition have serial numbers, and instructs the Department of State Police to maintain a registry of handgun ammunition transfers.

HB 1599 - Cuts the cost of renewing a concealed carry permit in half, from $150 to $75, and cuts the amount of money from permitting fees going to the Mental Health Reporting Fund from $20 to $5.

HB 1600 - Removes the provision requiring a license application from someone not a resident of Illinois to be from a state with similar firearm laws in order to obtain a license.

Assigned to Senate Judiciary Committee

SB 1228 - Allows concealed firearms in highway rest areas.

SB 1242 - Prohibits firearms in any building, property, or parking area of a polling location.

SB 1282 - Allows the carrying of firearms on public transportation.

Assigned to Senate Public Health Committee

SB 1145 - Allows the Department of Public Health to fine or sanction a facility that doesn’t comply with reporting requirements related to persons disqualified from owning a firearm.

Illinois to Consider Assault Weapons Ban, Social Media Review by Charles Yeganian

Fresh off maintaining super majorities in the state legislature and flipping the Governor’s set, Illinois Democrats are seeking to strengthen the state’s gun laws.

Illinois SB 107 has been introduced by Democratic Senators Julie Morrison, Jacqueline Collins, and Antonio Munoz with the intention of defining and banning assault weapons in the state. According to the legislation, the criteria for defining an “assault weapon” includes pistol grips, movable stocks, barrel shrouds, and muzzle brakes, and would further apply the definition to firearms with magazines holding 10 or more rounds. Specifically mentioned are AK-47s and AR-15s.

SB 107 gives people who currently posses these weapons 300 days to comply with the law.

Also in the gun regulation package is HB 888 by Democratic Rep. Daniel Didech, which makes amendments to the process to obtain a Firearm Owner’s Identification Card that would require an applicant for the card to furnish a list of social media accounts to the Department of State Police.

Both bills have been referred to committee.

LEAP Forward will be grading both pieces of legislation and scoring support for both.

Illinois Bill Would Require Social Media Check for Gun Ownership by Charles Yeganian

House Bill 888, introduced by state Rep. Daniel Didech (D-Buffalo Grove) would require applying for a Firearm Owner’s Identification Card (FOID) in Illinois to submit a list of their social media accounts to the state police.

State police would then check “to determine if there is any information that would disqualify the person from obtaining or require revocation of a currently valid Firearm Owner’s Identification Card.”

“These bills will give us additional tools to keep deadly weapons out of the hands of dangerous people, while respecting the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding gun owners,” said Didech. “I look forward to working with my colleagues in the coming months to pass these and other bills that will reduce gun violence and make our community safer.”

LEAP Forward is grading action on HB 888 and will be scoring support.

Illinois Senate Bill Would Define, Ban "Assault Weapons" by Charles Yeganian

Deerfield Democrat Sen. Julie Morrison introduced Senate Bill 107 to ban various types of specified semi-automatic firearms. The text of the bill closely mirrors other such bans passed by North Shore municipalities and by Cook County. Highland Park's ban was allowedto stand by the U.S. Supreme Court, while Cook County ban's, though upheld in federal court, has never actually been enforced and enforcement of Deerfield's has been put on hold pending court challenge in Lake County Court.

But those local ordinance bans merely assess fines. Morrison's proposal would amend the state's criminal code and make the first offense of buying, selling or possessing the weapons a class 3 felony, with a possible penalty ranging from probation to five years in the state penitentiary.

In an August 2018 op-ed, then-candidate [Gov. JB] Pritzker called for a ban on "assault weapons, bump stocks, and high-capacity magazines." The governor's office did not respond to a request for comment about the proposed legislation Friday. 

Illinois Counties Move to Provide Sanctuary... For Guns by Charles Yeganian

After an ugly midterm election during which immigration - and the concept of “sanctuary cities” for immigrants - were routinely attacked by the president and his conservative allies, you can imagine my surprise when two consecutive news articles in my inbox this morning involved some of the same people proposing sanctuary for firearms.

First, there was the story of law enforcement officials in Washington openly vowing defiance of a gun safety initiative supported and passed by three fifths of the electorate earlier this month. Now, entire counties in Illinois are passing non-binding resolutions making themselves “sanctuary firearm counties.”

 Logan County voters on Tuesday approved a referendum to become a sanctuary firearm county.

Logan joined the 26 Illinois counties that call themselves “gun sanctuaries.” In these counties, political and law enforcement officials limit their cooperation with federal authorities on Second Amendment issues that county leaders deem unconstitutional.

The resolutions target three specific pieces of legislation: HB 1465, HB 1467, and HB 1469. These bills would raise the age of purchase for a firearm to 21, prohibit municipalities from making assault weapon ownership easier than the state has made it, and outlaw high capacity magazines. However, none of the bills have been signed into law yet - all of them are currently stuck in House committee.

A spokesman for Michael Madigan, Democratic speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives, said the new General Assembly could take up new gun restriction laws again after being seated in the new year.

"I would assume they would based on the fact that there have been fresh ideas proposed every two years," spokesman Steve Brown said. "There are a number of unfinished ideas where the governor decided to veto bills."

In the meantime, this is a tug of war that’s going to be playing out in just about every state in the country, as state Republican parties continue to push these local referenda as a way to boost turnout in rural areas.

School Board Unanimously Opposes Arming Teachers by Charles Yeganian

The Champagne (IL) Unit 4 School Board has unanimously voted to oppose a statewide resolution to arm teachers, Jacqueline Francis of Fox Illinois reports:

Students also spoke before the board, voicing their thoughts and fears about the idea of teachers carrying guns.

"I and my other students are worried about gun violence in our schools and around the community,” Centennial High School senior Sophie Brown, said. “I agree something needs to be done, but putting guns around schools isn't the answer."

Jemel Roberson was a Good Guy With a Gun. Now He's Dead. by Charles Yeganian

By now, you’ve probably seen or heard about the tragic death of Jemel Roberson in Illinois. Jemel was, by all accounts, the quintessential example of “a good guy with a gun.” A security guard with designs on becoming a police officer, he was doing his job over the weekend - protecting the patrons of Manny’s Blue Bar - when he was shot and killed by police officers who mistook him for a criminal.

Photo by Avontea Boose

Photo by Avontea Boose

Jemel was 26 years old, a new dad, in uniform, licensed to carry his firearm. Now, he’s another gun violence statistic, and it is impossible to ignore the role that race may have played in the shooting.

Witnesses say Roberson was wearing his uniform, including a hat emblazoned with the word "security," and was holding a firearm he was licensed to carry.

Midlothian police confirmed that two officers responded to the scene at the bar on Sunday and that one of them opened fire.

"Everybody was screaming out 'Security!' " Harris told WGN. "And they still did their job, and saw a black man with a gun, and basically killed him."

Jemel’s death also brings up the broader issue of “good guys with guns.” It’s not difficult to envision this exact scenario playing out with an armed teacher, in the chaos of the aftermath of another school shooting. Or a concealed carry holder doing what the NRA has told us time and again is the rationale for being armed in public - defending himself - when police arrive. Combine the fact that law enforcement use their weapons in this country with greater frequency than elsewhere in the world with the continued issue of shooting first and asking questions later, and the conclusion is inescapable - it’s just as dangerous to be a good guy with a gun as a bad guy with a gun. Statistically, this danger is far greater if you’re African American.

Jemel’s family has sued the officer who killed him, as well as the department:

The Cook County Sheriff's Office is handling the criminal investigation of the original shooting, while the State Police Public Integrity Task Force is investigating the police-involved shooting.

Roberson's family said in addition to the holding the officer who shot him responsible, his family wants Roberson to be remembered as a hero.

His family and friends believe there was a racial element to the situation because the cop who shot him was white. Law enforcement has not confirmed the race of the officer.

The lawsuit seeks damages in excess of $1 million.