The National Disgrace of Illinois: Possessing Firearms Legally

"Governor Quinn is an advocate for consumers, taxpayers, and servicemembers and their families" brags Governor Quinn on the tax-payer-funded Illinois website. One might rightly question how the 2011 66% state income tax increase on Illinois taxpayers and his reckless disregard to the Illinois Constitution and the United States Constitution supports this brag? Illinois servicemen serve around the world to protect American interests, yet if they make it home to Illinois they come home to a state that, while happy to expose their lives in foreign countries, does not allow them to use a firearm legally to defend themselves, in stark contrast to all other states.


Elected officials in the state of Illinois swear or affirm to uphold and protect the Constitution of the State of Illinois. From the Illinois State Constitution:


"Subject only to the police power, the right of the individual citizen to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."

With this contained in the current Illinois State Constitution, you might rightly wonder how it possible that Illinois is the only state in the union that has a complete prohibition on the carrying of firearms in public for the purpose of self-defense? You've read that correctly, the law-abiding citizen cannot bear arms in Illinois, in obvious disregard for the Illinois State Constitution itself.
The right to keep and bear arms is the law of the United States. Not only is it a matter of Federal law, it is set forth in the Illinois State Constitution. This makes no sense. It certainly makes no sense to the Second Amendment Foundation, that just filed suit against the State of Illinois alleging that “Illinois statutes that completely ban the carrying of handguns for self-defense are inconsistent with the Second Amendment."

What of elected officials that seem to spit on both the United States Constitution and the Illinois State Constitution? Well, they aren't mine. I heard from Senator Linda Holmes regarding the recently introduced (and narrowly defeated) house bill HB0148 concerning concealed carry:
“Rest assured that that I will vote in favor of this bill if it comes before me in the Senate. I am in support of concealed carry and the NRA has given me an A rating for my voting record on gun issues.”  
Senator Linda Holmes
State Senator - 42nd District

What of House Republican Leader Tom Cross? Well, Representative Cross has called several times, informing me that I'm “preaching to the choir” as Tom carries a F.O.I.D. card just like I do, just like all Illinois gun owners do. So, with hardworking representatives like Tom and Linda, just how is it possible for Illinois to ignore not only its own constitution and the United States Constitution as well?

There are two issues here, the basic constitutional right to keep and bear arms that is illegal in Illinois due to illegal statutes. The second is legal concealed carry, the Illinois house bill concerning that recently defeated. The bill received 65 "yes" votes, but needed 71 to pass. "We are at the criminal’s mercy," downstate Democrat and bill sponsor Brandon Phelps said on the House floor. Phelps managed to keep the bill alive through a parliamentary maneuver, though it is unclear when it will come up for a vote again. This bill was approved by the Illinois House Agriculture and Conservation Committee prior to its eventual defeat by a vote of 12:1.

In a telephone conversation with Paul Shelton, forest wildlife program manager for the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, I asked Paul if it was even possible to hunt legally in the state of Illinois. Paul replied, “Well, just barely.” All of this should be found deeply disturbing to the law-abiding citizen in Illinois.

In a state like Illinois that is in financial ruin, a good question is why the current, cumbersome “F.O.I.D.” card system is allowed to persist. Already a tax on a right, the Federal Dept. of Justice NICS system is already paid for. Why would common sense not force Illinois lawmakers to just use the National Instant Background Check system already in place, instead of wasting dwindling state resources on the F.O.I.D. Card scheme?

Ironically, this is the same state that is home to the ATA Grand American Trapshooting Competition in Sparta, Illinois, the state that has long been the home of Winchester division of Olin (about to change), the home of gun manufacturer Armalite, Inc., in Geneseo, Illinois, the home of Springfield Armory as well. A state that brags of trophy deer, albeit while soaking hunters as much as possible in order to hunt in very short, congested “seasons.”

It is a mess and an embarrassment. In a state famous for its convicted felon ex-governors and this year, 2011, for raising taxes 66% on its citizens along with a corporate income tax increase of 45%, Illinois seems confused as to why new businesses choose other states, why old businesses are forced to consider leaving, and why the Illinois citizen is deprived of the protections guaranteed by both the United States Constitution and the Constitution of the State of Illinois itself.

Now, the State of Illinois finds itself using taxpayer dollars to defend itself in Federal court for its problems in following the United States Constitution. You might wonder why this is a wise use of taxpayer dollars and why Illinois cannot follow its own constitution in the first place? I do.

Now, what of Illinois Governor Pat Quinn? "I don't think that's healthy if you're going to the grocery store, you bump into somebody accidentally and they take offense, they can pull out a loaded concealed handgun to assuage their anger," Quinn said. Yes, this is a direct and recent exact quote and yes . . . we have a person of this inexplicable level of intelligence that is now the Governor of Illinois. Recently, there was tragedy at a supermarket. The British woman beheaded in an apparently random supermarket attack in Spain's Canary Islands has been identified as grandmother Jennifer Mills-Westley. Following the reckless advice of Governor Quinn resulted in the death of this grandmother. The attacker is no doubt pleased that this woman had no way to effectively defend herself, a premise championed by Governor Quinn.

Has Governor Quinn considered that gun laws only affect those who choose to follow laws in the first place? Gun laws have no meaning for those who do not care to follow laws, they only penalize the law-abiding citizen.
Governor Quinn must have a rough time at the grocery store or is clumsy enough to bump into people a lot. I don't know who he bumps into, nor am I aware of any single incident where just bumping into someone causes a grocery store shoot-out. Who is he going to bump into, House Republican Leader Tom Cross or State Senator Linda Holmes?

Is Governor Quinn aware that guns prevent 75 crimes for ever one they are used for, according to Dr. Martin Fackler, and that constitutional rights (and gun rights) do not at all allow for illegal acts. Exactly the opposite, they simply allow law-abiding citizens the ability to rightfully defend themselves. Wrongful and offensive acts get no protection under Constitutional rights whatsoever.

Hasn't anyone asked why there is no gun violence at the trap club or the shooting range? Those with a propensity towards acts of violence naturally agree with Governor Quinn . . . law-abiding citizens should be stripped of their constitutional rights and should be unarmed and defenseless at all times. It makes the chosen profession of crime a safer career path.
Illinois has as its moniker “The Land of Lincoln.” On March 4, 1861, Abraham Lincoln gave his First Inaugural Address which contains: “This country, with its institutions, belongs to the people who inhabit it. Whenever they shall grow weary of the existing Government, they can exercise their constitutional right of amending it, or their revolutionary right to dismember or overthrow it.
The constitutional rights that Abraham Lincoln spoke of have now been largely abandoned and ignored by those that currently inhabit Springfield, Illinois, where Abraham Lincoln lived for nearly twenty-five years.

Despite the Illinois Constitution that guarantees "Subject only to the police power, the right of the individual citizen to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed," we know that this is hardly the case today. Consider the plight of one Mr. Leonard Holmes, Jr., a man not from Yemen or Syria but from our neighboring state of Indiana. See: THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, Appellee, v. LEONARD HOLMES, JR., Appellant. Rather than using a gun to commit a crime, Mr. Holmes was guilty only of a minor traffic violation, no accident involved. Yet, this Indiana handgun permit holder was charged with aggravated unlawful use of a weapon on two counts. No weapon was actually "used" at all, yet he was found guilty at trial and the appellate court affirmed. Six years later, the Supreme Court of Illinois finally reversed this injustice: "Appellate court judgment reversed;
circuit court judgment reversed; cause remanded." Six years of ill-advised persecution by the State Of Illinois, a state that promises "Subject only to the police power, the right of the individual citizen to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."

There should be no great mystery as to why citizens do not trust their government in the State of Illinois, a state that fails to obey the law of the land as set forth by both the United States Constitution and the Illinois State Constitution. I'm appalled, as anyone who believes in the blessings of Liberty should rightfully be. When lawmakers and governors ignore the Constitution they have sworn to uphold and defend, just where does that leave the law-abiding citizen?


Opinion by Randy Wakeman. Copyright 2011 by Randy Wakeman. All Rights Reserved.


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