When the Illinois legislature meets next week for the veto session, one bill likely to see some action is Illinois House Bill 2265, which aims to "enhance" the penalties for various victimless "gun crimes." As the NRA notes, these "enhancements" are quite significant:
House Bill 2265, sponsored by state Representative Michael Zalewski (D-23), is poised to create and impose harsh mandatory minimum felony penalties ranging from three to ten years in prison for those who carry a firearm without a Concealed Carry License (CCL) or possess a firearm without a Firearm Owners Identification Card (FOID). This specific provision incorrectly targets otherwise law-abiding citizens, rather than deterring violent criminals with harsher penalties.
In other words, refusing to be a victim, and thus carrying the means to avoid becoming one, would leave a judge with no choice but to toss the "offender" in a cage--for years.
Oh, and "sponsored by state Representative Michael Zalewski (D-23)"--that name sounds familiar. Oh, yeah--he was the one who wanted not only to ban 11-round magazines, but to confiscate all the ones already in the state, and subject all violators to harsh punishments (a felony for possessing two 11-round mags, or for selling one of them).
Under HB 2265, carrying a loaded firearm without a permit, or even an unloaded one, with ammunition "immediately accessible," would be a felony, for which the judge must sentence the offender to three to seven years in prison. A second offense would make it five to ten years.
Now consider the fact that although the federal court system has ruled that Illinois' lack of any legal mechanism to carry a defensive firearm is a violation of the Second Amendment (as has the Illinois Supreme Court), and thus Constitutionally illegitimate, forcing the state to pass a concealed carry law, the state is not expected to start actually issuing permits for at least another half year, and don't even think about acquittals for those already arrested under the unconstitutional law.
In other words, Zalewski wants to imprison people for years, for an activity that Illinois is Constitutionally obligated to permit, but does not yet.
One person who thinks that's just fine, and that the NRA's opposition to it makes them "a criminal's best friend," is Martha Rosenberg, who proudly puts her incoherence on display writing for OpEdNews:
Why did NRA-enamored federal law makers nix universal background checks in April despite 20 first-graders murdered four months earlier and one of their own, Gabby Giffords, savagely attacked?
Um, perhaps because they knew that neither of the guns used in those shootings had been bought without the ostensibly magical panacea of a background check? Rosenberg is not new to the gun rights/"gun control" debate, having excused a hate-filled priest who advocated the murder of a gun dealer and legislators who support gun rights, and lamented that lawmakers seek the gun owner vote, but crowed that "the gun lobby" (that's you and me) is losing power, and so are "white males" (where have we seen that before?). She continues:
Because 40 percent of the gun manufacturers' market is estimated to be illegal according to statistics from the National Institute of Justice and other sources.
Hmm . . . has Rosenberg decided not to be satisfied with the lie that "40% of gun sales are made without a background check," and to therefore expand the mendacity to "40 percent of the gun manufacturers' market is estimated to be illegal"? That's certainly what it looks like from here.
She eventually gets around to HB 2265:
The NRA took another pro-criminal stance this week in Illinois--it is opposing a bill that says if someone is arrested with a gun they're not supposed to have, they go to prison for at least three years. Currently, it's possible for them to get probation, with no time in prison. Chicago's gun violence rate is sky high and many believe automatic incarceration would help.
So, "many believe" that although Chicago's draconian gun laws have done nothing to reduce the "sky high" rate of "gun violence," what will work is a statewide denial of judges' discretion in sentencing even those who are only in violation of the law because Illinois is dragging its feet in meeting its Constitutional obligation to permit defensive firearm carry? Who are these "many," and what can be done to get them the mental health care they so desperately need?
Zalewski, Rosenberg, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and every other supporter of HB 2265 want to force decent, peaceable Illinoisans to choose between risking years in prison--and risking their lives. That is what is criminal.
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