Gun-owner lobby tracking 254 bills in Illinois

As lawmakers prepare to return to the capitol this week, Illinois’ gun-owner lobby is tracking more than 250 bills at the statehouse, most of which the group said would weaken Second Amendment protections.

Illinois State Rifle Association Executive Director Richard Pearson said gun owners should be paying attention to what is happening at the Illinois statehouse.

“We’re tracking 254 bills right now, so some are pro-gun, some are anti-gun,” Pearson said. “Most are anti-gun.”

He said one of the pro-gun measures to end the Firearm Owners Identification card is filed every year. That’s not expected to advance. But one that’s up for final passage in the state Senate, Senate Bill 1966, would require FOID applicants to submit fingerprints.

“[The bill says] you have to have fingerprints, you have to pay for your own background checks, pay for your own fingerprints,” Pearson said. “I say if a poll tax, $2 dollars is too much to register to vote, how much is $400 or $500 for a FOID card?”

Pearson said he doesn’t expect Senate Bill 1966 to be voted on until after the March primary.

Another proposed measure, House Bill 5170, requires a $1 million insurance policy to get a FOID card. Pearson said there was no company in the world that has such a policy and the costs of such a policy are unknown.

“And you don’t have to own a firearm, you just have to be a FOID cardholder,” Pearson said. “So if you had a family with two or three or four FOID cards they would all have to get this policy. It just becomes cost-prohibitive. It’s just another attack on the Second Amendment.”

Another bill Pearson’s group is watching is House Bill 2254, which would require every gun to be stored in a lockable container.

“You could suffer a $1,000 to $10,000 fine if the police happen to come into your house and find a gun that’s not locked up,” Pearson said. “It makes having a firearm in your house for self-defense impossible.”

He encouraged gun owners to attend the Illinois Gun Owner Lobby Day on April 1 in Springfield to be heard.

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