It’s not just the temperature that’s starting to warm up these days. The gun control debate looks to be heating up as well.
Emboldened by the shooting of a U.S. Congresswoman and others back in January and some polls that may indicate growing support for more restrictions on firearms, gun control advocates have taken the offensive since the beginning of the year. Illinois and Arizona are two of the more high-profile battlegrounds right now.
On March 1, I noted that the Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan had determined the names of Illinois residents possessing Firearm Owner’s Identification (FOID) cards must be released to the public. In the state of Illinois, unless specifically exempted by statute, any resident who acquires or possesses firearm or firearm ammunition within the state must have in their possession a valid Firearm Owner’s Identification (FOID) card issued in his or her name. In the past, the Illinois State Police, the agency responsible for issuing FOID cards, kept cardholder information confidential. Madigan’s directive would reverse this policy.
Last Friday, a judge blocked the release of the FOID cardholders’ names- at least temporarily. From Leslie Williams of the Journal Star (Peoria, Illinois) on March 11:
A judge granted a request Friday to temporarily block the release of the 1.3 million names of Illinoisans who hold state Firearm Owner’s Identification cards.
Peoria County Circuit Judge Scott Shore sided with four Peoria-area members of the Illinois State Rifle Association who contend that releasing the names would cause “irreparable damage.” They also contend that identities of gun permit holders are “in need of protection, namely the preservation of the status quo, until this litigation can be resolved,” according to the complaint.
Friday’s injunction proceeding was the first of three parts to permanently bar the names from being released. A temporary restraining order was granted and is in effect for 10 days…
Chief Peoria County Circuit Judge Michael Brandt will hear a status of the case at 10:40 a.m. Tuesday. A date will be chosen for the second stage of the injunction, known as a preliminary injunction. What’s at stake at the preliminary injunction hearing is an interim ruling that would decide, while the case is pending, that the temporary restraining order be on a permanent basis. The third phase is going to trial to seek a permanent injunction.
At Tuesday’s status hearing there’s a chance that the temporary restraining order could be extended beyond the 10 day window as a way to better mesh with the court’s and attorneys’ schedules.
According to Williams, the Illinois State Police is preparing a possible court challenge should the Attorney General’s ruling become binding.
Goofy, right? A lot of Illinois constituents have to be wondering why the Attorney General is wasting time, effort, and what could soon be taxpayer money on this issue.
And on the heels of poll findings favorable to the gun control cause, President Barack Obama penned an opinion piece in the Arizona Daily Star yesterday. On March 3, The Arizona Republic’s Ronald J. Hansen wrote:
A poll commissioned by the group Mayors Against Illegal Guns says that sizable majorities of Arizona voters support several specific gun-control measures, similar to findings in four other states that also were surveyed.
Among the findings, 83 percent of the 600 registered voters polled in Arizona favor a law requiring all gun buyers to pass a background check.
Among gun-owners, the number was 75 percent in Arizona, the group reported…
The poll also was conducted in Colorado, Ohio, Indiana and Virginia.
I’m left shaking my head after reading this piece. Using a survey pool of only 600 individuals to somehow represent the views of nearly 6.6 million Arizona residents? Are you kidding me? There’s only one thing that can be taken away from this poll, and that is- get a bigger survey pool and try again.
But getting back on track, President Obama argued for the following gun “reforms” in his opinion piece in the Arizona Daily Star on Sunday:
• First, we should begin by enforcing laws that are already on the books. The National Instant Criminal Background Check System is the filter that’s supposed to stop the wrong people from getting their hands on a gun. Bipartisan legislation four years ago was supposed to strengthen this system, but it hasn’t been properly implemented. It relies on data supplied by states – but that data is often incomplete and inadequate. We must do better.
• Second, we should in fact reward the states that provide the best data – and therefore do the most to protect our citizens.
• Third, we should make the system faster and nimbler. We should provide an instant, accurate, comprehensive and consistent system for background checks to sellers who want to do the right thing, and make sure that criminals can’t escape it.
The U.S. President added:
Clearly, there’s more we can do to prevent gun violence. But I want this to at least be the beginning of a new discussion on how we can keep America safe for all our people.
Note where he said “But I want this to at least be the beginning of a new discussion…”
My two cents? These proposed, less-controversial “reforms” are merely a “feeler” for the Obama administration and gun control advocates. They want to gauge the reaction of the public and see if they really are becoming more tolerant of more firearm restrictions in the wake of the Arizona shooting and recent pro-gun control poll findings.
In addition, note how the President used the word “common sense” repeatedly in his piece:
However, I believe that if common sense prevails…
I’m willing to bet they don’t think that using a gun and using common sense are incompatible ideas…
Most gun owners know that the word “commonsense” isn’t a code word for “confiscation.”
If Americans go along with the proposed “reforms,” it’s a good bet the White House will offer more “common sense” suggestions shortly thereafter:
• “Common sense” restrictions on high-capacity magazines
• “Common sense” restrictions on “assault weapons”
• “Common sense” restrictions on all semi-automatic firearms
Get the point?
On the flip-side, if Americans raise a stink over the proposed “reforms,” expect the gun control crowd to keep pursuing their agenda through the back-door.
Williams, Leslie. “Judge blocks release of FOID cardholders’ names.” Journal Star (Peoria, Illinois). 11 Mar. 2011. (http://www.pjstar.com/news/x904839798/Judge-shoots-down-release-of-FOID-identities). 14 Mar. 2011.
Hansen, Ronald J. “Arizona voters OK gun control, poll says.” The Arizona Republic. 3 Mar. 2011. (http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/local/articles/2011/03/03/20110303arizona-voters-approve-gun-control.html). 14 Mar. 2011.
Obama, Barack. “President Obama: We must seek agreement on gun reforms.” Arizona Daily Star. 13 Mar. 2011. (http://azstarnet.com/article_011e7118-8951-5206-a878-39bfbc9dc89d.html). 14 Mar. 2011.
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