Jesiel on the Contentious Week in Springfield

This week in Springfield was very contentious, so for anyone who is concerned about the recent gun legislation, from any perspective, I want to make sure you have the correct information. I always approach votes from a measured policy perspective, not a political one, to ensure good policy is enacted.

I voted no on SB1657, the inaccurately named “Gun Dealer Licensing” bill, both yesterday and when it was first called in the fall. There are numerous problems with this bill beyond the fact the ATF already licenses and regularly inspects gun shops - serious concerns for the privacy of private citizens and the exemption for large retailers like Wal-Mart means that all this bill does is drive mom and pop shops out of business. That is not good policy.

I voted no on HB1465 because, again, this bill did a lot more than merely raise the age to purchase an “assault weapon” (an arbitrary term anyway) and would have turned law-abiding citizens into criminals. Again, that’s not good policy.

Yes, I did vote for HB1467 and HB1468. These bills addressed specific items and after weighing all the pros and cons I felt they were reasonable approaches. We already have a minimum 24 hour waiting period for all gun purchases in Illinois and a 72 hour waiting period for handguns, so adding certain semi-automatic long guns to the 72 hour waiting period is reasonable.

I also think it is reasonable to get rid of bump stocks and trigger cranks; their only purpose is to increase the rate of fire of a semi-automatic firearm to that of a fully-automatic one. Why is that necessary? A well-trained hunter or person acting in self-defense would not use a fully-automatic feature anyway because it reduces accuracy. I would have preferred to vote for HB4120, which is more specific in design, instead of HB1467, but there is no way Speaker Madigan would have let the bill come to the floor. Again, I felt this was reasonable.

But no discussion is complete until we address the broader issue that led to the House votes yesterday. There will always be those whose intent is to do harm, using whatever means necessary. And the increasingly hostile culture we live in only intensifies the anger and evil that perpetrates horrific crimes like happened in Florida last month. I will continue to look for ways to balance both sides of the equation by the best means possible. Most of all, I want to contribute to a discussion that looks at the reasons why we are so hostile and divided and come back to a middle ground of respect that serves to uphold and respect the value of every life. It is a change of heart and a movement away from evil and hatred that is our best hope.

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