Clowns To The Left Of Me, Jokers To The Right

The rest of that song by Stealers Wheel goes “here I am stuck in the middle with you.”

That is how I’m feeling about the whole open carry fiasco in Texas. I doubt that there are many readers of this blog that don’t support the extension of open carry in Texas to include handguns. Many states including my own North Carolina have unlicensed open carry.

What is incredibly frustrating is watching Shannon Watts and her fellow gun prohibitionists at Everytown Moms for Illegal Mayors making hay out of the bumbling ineptitude of groups like Open Carry Texas. Sonic, Chipotle, and god knows who’s next have issued “Starbucks-style” statement asking the open carry activists to leave them out of the argument.

Sebastian at Shall Not Be Questioned has done yeoman’s work in examining the folly of their actions. You can read some of those posts here, here, and here. There are more.

The attention whoring of these OC activists has caused such backlash that the NRA issued a statement last Thursday which said, in part,

Yet while unlicensed open carry of long guns is also typically legal in most places, it is a rare sight to see someone sidle up next to you in line for lunch with a 7.62 rifle slung across his chest, much less a whole gaggle of folks descending on the same public venue with similar arms.

Let’s not mince words, not only is it rare, it’s downright weird and certainly not a practical way to go normally about your business while being prepared to defend yourself. To those who are not acquainted with the dubious practice of using public displays of firearms as a means to draw attention to oneself or one’s cause, it can be downright scary. It makes folks who might normally be perfectly open-minded about firearms feel uncomfortable and question the motives of pro-gun advocates.

As a result of these hijinx, two popular fast food outlets have recently requested patrons to keep guns off the premises (more information can be found here and here). In other words, the freedom and goodwill these businesses had previously extended to gun owners has been curtailed because of the actions of an attention-hungry few who thought only of themselves and not of those who might be affected by their behavior. To state the obvious, that’s counterproductive for the gun owning community.

More to the point, it’s just not neighborly, which is out of character for the big-hearted residents of Texas. Using guns merely to draw attention to yourself in public not only defies common sense, it shows a lack of consideration and manners. That’s not the Texas way. And that’s certainly not the NRA way.

Chris Cox of the NRA-ILA backed away from that statement yesterday saying it was the personal opinion of some unnamed staffer and not the NRA’s official position. He apologized for any confusion it caused. Others such as Charles Cooke of National Review disagreed saying that it was what needed to be said. I think I and the majority of the gun blogging and gun podcast community would agree that it needed to said.

Bob Owens had an interesting observation on this at He noted that often in cases like this where a statement is retracted that it is the original statement which reflects the internal thinking of the organization. In other words, it was what we called back in my political science days “signalling“.

As Michael Bane emphasized today in his Downrange Radio podcast, our goal in the gun rights community needs to be winning. We no more win hearts and minds with these open carry demonstrations in restaurants than the US Air Force did with carpet bombing in South Vietnam. I would send a copy of Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People to everyone in the Texas open carry leadership if I could.

I can’t, so in the meantime I will implore them to cut out the narcissistic displays, clean up their websites and Facebook pages, and, as Michael suggested, think before you do stupid. Those of us stuck in the middle would appreciate it.

Jumping The Gun On CCW In Illinois – A Warning

Despite the speculation by TTAG that Illinois is now a constitutional carry state with the Illinois Supreme Court’s decision in Aguilar v People, Thirdpower at Days of our Trailers has a warning about not to tempting fate.

Even though TTAG is claiming that IL is a ‘Constitutional Carry’ State, you can still get your @ss arrested.

If we find somebody carrying a weapon, we’ll likely write a report and hand it over to the state’s attorney and let him use the facts of the case to decide whether he wants to prosecute. If we feel it’s necessary, there’s a very good chance we’ll seize the weapon.”

Given that Thirdpower is a lifelong Illinoisian and is active in Illinois gun politics, I’m going with him on this one. You might beat the charge of unlawful use of a firearm but you’ll probably never see your gun again.

Noted “Insurrectionist” On IGOLD 2013

That noted insurrectionist Roy Kubicek aka Thirdpower has a post up with full coverage of the Illinois State Rifle Association’s IGOLD 2013 on his blog Days of Our Trailers. IGOLD stands for Illinois Gun Owner Lobbying Day.

Thirdpower has some great pictures of the march through Springfield as well as the speakers at the Prairie Capitol Convention Center. Of particular note is Mary Shepard who was the lead plaintiff in Shepard v. Madigan.

Picture by Thirdpower, Mary Shepard next to David & Colleen Lawson.

Roy, for those that don’t know, was singled out by Joshua Horwitz of CSGV for attention during Horwitz’s testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Of course, Horwitz used a severely edited and selective quote of Roy’s blog post. More on that here.

* I just noticed that this was my 3000th post. I’m glad to see it was on the efforts of the gun owners of Illinois to preserve and protect their Second Amendment rights.

Gun Prohibitionists At Work In Illinois Lame-Duck Session (Updated)

You have to wonder just how committed to democracy and representative government are those politicians who would push for gun bans. I think most people would understand that in the state of Illinois unfortunately power politics trumps democracy and representative government. So it is with the latest moves in Illinois to introduce an assault weapons (sic) ban.

From ISRA:

The ISRA has learned from a credible source that Illinois Senate President John Cullerton will introduce a so called “assault weapons” ban on Wednesday when the legislature returns for its “lame duck” session. Cullerton hopes to ramrod the bill through and get it to Governor Quinn for signature by Friday. If he is successful at doing so, nearly every gun you currently own will be banned and will be subject to confiscation by the Illinois State Police.

Based on what we know about Cullerton’s bill, firearms that would be banned include all semiautomatic rifles, pistols, and shotguns. Pump action shotguns would be banned as well. This would be a very comprehensive ban that would include not only so-called “assault weapons” but also such classics as M1 Garands and 1911-based pistols. There would be no exemptions and no grandfathering. You would have a very short window to turn in your guns to the State Police to avoid prosecution.

ISRA is asking that people in Illinois call your State Senator on Wednesday and politely tell him or her that you are a law abiding firearm owner and that you strongly oppose Cullerton’’s gun ban.

From the NRA-ILA:

URGENT: Illinois Anti-Gun Legislators That YOU Voted Out of Office to Use Their Last Remaining Days in Legislature Exploiting Lame Duck Session and Holiday Break To Impose a Draconian Gun Ban

The NRA-ILA has just learned that anti-gun legislators backed by Governor Quinn are deceptively trying to sneak through a new draconian gun ban as early as Wednesday while the legislature convenes for the Lame Duck Session from January 2 to 9. You voted many of these anti-gun legislators out of office, and now, in their last days as law makers, they want to quietly trample on the rights of all law-abiding gun owners in Illinois. It is imperative that you contact your state legislators

IMMEDIATELY and continue to do so over the next few days. The Lame Duck Session will end on January 9, so this bill will be moving at lightning speed through both the House and Senate, with very little time to spare. Your phone call or email will play an important role in halting this assault on your Second Amendment rights.

The NRA-ILA will continue to send updates on this matter as details become available to us. However, it is of the utmost importance that you act NOW to stop this gun ban and registration scheme. Call and email IMMEDIATELY and let your voice be heard on this matter.

To reach the main line for the Illinois General Assembly, please call 217.782.2000.

Contact information for your state legislators can be found by clicking here.

 Kurt Hofmann has more on this move in his column in the St. Louis Gun Rights Examiner.  Thirdpower at Days of Our Trailers blog has more as well as a suggestion to leave (polite) messages on the Illinois Senate Democratic Causus’ Facebook page. You can reach that here.

UPDATE: Sebastian reports that the attack on gun rights in the state of Illinois is far broader than previously thought. In addition to an AWB, there will be restrictions on ranges, magazines, a lost or stolen requirement, etc. Go to his post here and read the whole thing. If you are a resident of Illinois, get to work. If you have family or friends in Illinois, let them know so they can get to get work calling their state representatives.

UPDATE II: The NRA-ILA has released an alert stating that the vote could come as early as this afternoon on the AWB and magazine bans. Their alert is below:

If you own a semi-automatic firearm or detachable magazine, they may be banned and you could become a felon unless you act NOW

As the Illinois Senate convenes this afternoon for its Lame Duck session, anti-gun legislators led by Senate President John Cullerton and backed by Governor Patrick Quinn (D) are deceptively trying to sneak through a sweeping draconian gun and magazine ban in Springfield. In their last days as lawmakers (some were defeated for reelection and others retiring), these legislators are attempting to quietly trample on the rights of all law-abiding gun owners in Illinois. The many restrictions contained in this legislation are subject to changes, however, this latest attack on your Second Amendment rights as currently drafted would turn law-abiding owners into felons for possession of nearly all common semi-automatic firearms or detachable magazines. Not only would such a ban include classic firearms like the 1911 and common handguns like Glocks, this ban would also outlaw common hunting guns like the Ruger 10/22 and Remington 740 series.

It is imperative that you contact your state Senator IMMEDIATELY to express your opposition and continue to do so every day this week. The Lame Duck session starts today and ends on January 9, so this legislation will be moving at lightning speed in both the Senate and House, with very little time to spare. At this time, it is rumored that both the semi-auto and magazine ban bills will be sent to the Executive Committee this afternoon. Please contact those members (listed below) as well as your state Senator. Your telephone calls will determine the outcome of this assault on your Second Amendment rights.

Anti-gun politicians are attempting to sacrifice your constitutional rights as a scapegoat for the criminal acts of lunatics and violence in Chicago by gangs and drug dealers. Don’t let them succeed in banning your firearms or magazines as an excuse for stopping criminals from misusing them. Criminals — by definition — violate laws, especially gun control laws, including often: murder, rape, robbery, drug-dealing, gang violence, firearm theft, carrying concealed firearms without a license/permit, federal gun-free school zones. They do not obey gun bans, register their firearms, or get subjected to any gun control schemes (like the lone state ban on carrying concealed firearms for self-defense) that only affect and penalize law-abiding citizens like you.

The NRA-ILA will continue to send legislative updates as details become available. However, it is of the utmost importance that you act NOW to stop this gun and magazine ban. Call your state Senator and members of the Executive Committee IMMEDIATELY and express your opposition to banning firearms or magazines.

To reach the main line for the Illinois General Assembly, please call 217-782-2000.

Contact information for your state legislators can be found by clicking here.

Senate Executive Committee:

Senator Don Harmon, Chairman, (D-39)

(217) 782-8176

Senator Ira Silverstein, Vice Chairman, (D-8)

(217) 782-5500

Senator James F. Clayborne, Jr., (D-57)

(217) 782 5399

Senator Maggie Crotty, (D-19)

(217) 782-9595

Senator John J. Cullerton, Senate President (D-6)

(217) 782-2728

Senator Kimberly A. Lightford, (D-4)

(217) 782-8505

Senator Antonio Munoz, (D-1)

(217) 782-9415

Senator Jeffrey M. Schoenberg, (D-9)

(217) 782-2119

Senator Donne E. Trotter (D-17)

(217) 782-3201

Senator Dale A. Righter, Minority Spokesperson, (R-55)

(217) 782-6674

Senator William E. Brady, (R-44)

(217) 782-6216

Senator John O. Jones, (R-54)

(217) 782-0471

Senator David S. Luechtefeld, (R-58)

(217) 782-8137

Senator Matt Murphy, (R-27)

(217) 782-4471

Senator Christine Radogno, (R-41)

(217) 782-9407

The Ranks Of Gun Owners Swelled On Black Friday In Illinois

While Illinois may be the only state that does not have some form of concealed carry, it was not left out of the rise in sales of firearms on Black Friday. According to WLS-TV in Chicago, the Illinois State Police reported a 42% increase in the number of applications for Firearms Owner ID (FOID) cards on Black Friday compared to last year. Almost 2,900 new applications were received for FOID cards this year. Bear in mind that these are NEW (would-be) gun owners because once you have a FOID card it covers all your guns and is good for 10 years.

However, and I think the reporter for WLS-TV doesn’t quite get Illinois firearms law, an application for a FOID card is not approved immediately. The State Police have up to 30 days to approve it and return it to you. Until you have a valid FOID card in hand, you can’t buy a firearm, ammunition, or a Taser.

This is from an email this evening from Thirdpower of Days of Our Trailers blog:

You can apply for your FOID through most FFL’s if they’re smart. It normally takes 3-4 weeks to get it through the ISP so while you could ‘purchase’ your firearm by perhaps putting down a down payment, you cannot actually fill out the 4473/NICS check until you have the FOID in your possession. Then there’s a 24hr waiting period for long guns and 72 hour for handguns.

We will have to wait until the NICS stats are out to get a better idea of just how much actual gun sales rose in Illinois during this period. Nonetheless, this many applications for FOID cards means another 2,900 gun owners are added to the rolls of gunowners in the Land of Lincoln. And THAT is a good thing.

Note: A big thanks to Kurt Hofmann, the St. Louis Gun Rights Examiner, and Thirdpower for answering my questions so quickly about Illinois gun law and FOID cards. I really appreciate their help!

Thirdpower put together this primer on Illinois gun laws a couple of years ago. It is a good starting place.