Last June, the Illinois legislature sent SB 681 to Governor Pat Quinn’s office, having approved the bill in May, with overwhelming, bipartisan support. That it passed so easily, receiving “Yea” votes from even a number of rabidly anti-gun, Chicago-area Democrats, is perhaps not so surprising, because it was a far from controversial bill.
All SB 681 would do is permit Illinois residents to purchase ammunition by mail from Illinois vendors (residents can already make such mail order purchases from out of state vendors). The sale could not proceed without the purchaser providing a copy of his/her Firearm Owners Identification (FOID) card and a driver’s license or State Identification Card (you know–the same kind of requirement that when imposed on voters is overly burdensome and “racist”).
In late July, though, Governor Quinn vetoed the bill. The veto he used is of a type not available to governors of many states–it is an “amendatory” veto, which allows him to modify the bill, and if simple majorities of both chambers of the legislature approve of the changes, the new, revised bill becomes law. If three fifths majorities of both chambers vote to override, the original bill becomes law. If neither happens, the bill dies.
Quinn’s modifications were to completely gut the bill, and turn it into one of the most draconian bans of “assault weapons,” “high-capacity magazines,” .50 BMG caliber firearms and cartridges and “assault weapon attachments” ever seen. Banned items owned before the effective date would be subject to confiscation if the owner could not prove his/her pre-ban purchase of them, and even with such proof, would now be registered with the state.
Alert readers might notice the timing of Quinn’s veto–right after the Aurora, Colorado “Batman” movie massacre. As tends to be the case with the forcible citizen disarmament fanatics, Quinn is not at all above exploiting the murder of innocents to advance his sick agenda.
As we discussed previously, the amendatory veto process was never intended by the drafters of the state constitution to permit such wholesale, radical changes to a bill, so Quinn’s complete re-write blatantly violates the state constitution as well as the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. But also as noted in the article, the Illinois Supreme Court has never ruled that a governor went too far with his “amendments,” and for that matter, the U.S. Supreme Court has never yet ruled that an “assault weapon” ban goes too far, despite “assault weapons'” obvious utility to a militia (not to mention shall not be infringed).
The NRA points out that the “assault weapon attachment” language in Quinn’s bill would ban even many gun parts, like pistol grips, telescoping stocks, hand guards, flash suppressors, etc.
Today and tomorrow, and also next Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, the Illinois legislature is in veto session, and could vote on Quinn’s veto any time (with the Senate expected to do so first). State Senator Dave Luechtefeld (R), the sponsor of the bill, hopes to override the veto. That is not out of the realm of possibility, because it was passed with well over the three fifths majority needed for the override. On the other hand, some of those who voted for the original bill are, as mentioned, anti-gun Democrats, who will likely lack the moral courage to defy the will of the governor (the will of the people–the legislators’ bosses–is, of course, of far less concern to them).
Still, Illinois residents should call their state senators as soon as possible, and urge a vote to override this blatant attack on the constitutions of both the state and the nation, and on the liberty of the citizens.
Update: The Illinois Senate voted 49-4 to override Quinn’s veto. The veto override actually received more votes than the original bill did. On to the House.
Update 2: NRA reports that the House is expected to take up the issue tomorrow, November 29. Call your state representatives, Illinois residents, and strongly urge them to vote “Yes” on the veto override.
Update 3: The Illinois House vote on a veto override is now scheduled for Tuesday, December 4. Illinois residents must call their state representatives before then, urgint them in the strongest terms to vote for the override.
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