The Illinois House Judiciary Criminal Committee will hold a public hearing March 7 on a proposal that seeks to do away with the much-disliked state Firearm Owners Identification (FOID) Card.
The gun reform legislation, HB3178, is sponsored by State Rep. Jerry Costello II, and here’s something that will surprise a lot of Second Amendment activists: He’s a Democrat from Smithton. According to WSIL News, Costello offered this explanation:
Southern Illinoisans should be able to hunt and defend themselves without the government getting in the way and convolution the process. I look forward to working with my colleagues across the aisle to getting this legislation passed and helping our responsible gun owners.”
The Belleville News-Democrat reported that Costello sees FOID cards as “a burden to ‘responsible’ Illinois residents.”
Costello describes himself as “passionate about the Second Amendment.” He told the newspaper that, “people living under our constitution are allowed to bear arms. I think it is more burdensome in the state of Illinois than the rest of the country — and I think that’s wrong.”
Presently, the newspaper noted, “there are at least 22 factors that would disqualify a person from being eligible for a FOID card. Convicted felons and people convicted of aggravated assault, for example, are not eligible to receive FOID cards.”
The gun prohibition lobby immediately opposed the legislation, offering what many might consider the same tired arguments against any pro-rights efforts.
“This is for our safety so that guns don’t end up in hands they shouldn’t have,” said Colleen Daley, executive director of the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence.
She said removing the FOID card requirement “will make us less safe.” There is no evidence to confirm this. With or without FOID cards, street gangs and thugs in Chicago are rolling up the body count already this year. The Chicago Tribune reported over the weekend that the Windy City has passed the 100-mark for murders, and two full months have not yet passed, yet that made less news than actor Warren Beatty’s and actress Fay Dunaway’s monumental flub at the Academy Awards presentation Sunday night when they were apparently handed the wrong envelope and announced the wrong film as winner of best movie of 2016.
Anti-gunner Daley was quoted by the newspaper asserting, “We need to do things to help stop gun violence. We need to see movement on legislation that will help save lives, not legislation that would potentially put more people in harm’s way. We would fight tooth and nail if there is any movement on this bill.”
But Costello countered that crime went down in both Chicago and Washington, D.C. after Supreme Court rulings voided gun bans in those cities.