Most gun owners in Illinois know the “Protect Illinois Communities Act, PICA,” aka Pritzker’s assault weapon ban, and somewhat understand what that law entails. We are trying to follow the several lawsuits, what courts they are in, at what level, what judge has ruled or not ruled, who is on the TRO, what the TRO is, etc. We are all listening to different groups—ISRA, NRA, 2AF, and GSL—about who has filed what lawsuit and where. It’s clear as mud, convoluted, and confusing, to say the least, so here is the bottom line.
— LetsTalkDefensiveGunUse (@LetsTalkDGU) January 26, 2023
Illinois banned what they call “Assault Weapons”
The Illinois State Government has banned what they call “assault weapons,” telling law-abiding gun owners to register or surrender firearms that have certain cosmetic features or face prosecution. The Illinois State Supreme Court allowed the Protect Illinois Communities Act (Act) or (HB-5471) to proceed on August 11, 2023, and it is now the law of the land in Illinois. We, the gun owners, all 2.4 million of us, have until December 31, 2023, to comply with the new law.
What are your options?
We all have questions, even the experts, like What defines an “assault weapon”? What can we do other than register or surrender our firearms? Can we ship them out of state? Can we “modify” the illegal features to make them legal?
And many more questions, all of which have caused a lot of debate among us. The discussion of this law needs to continue for us to understand how to deal with it.
If we do not act appropriately and act right now, this could play out badly for many of us. Like many others, I believe we will prevail if or when this goes to the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS). The problem is that this law is already in effect, and SCOTUS will not hear it until next year. So, the Illinois State Government is treating us as guilty until proven innocent, and they want to punish us without a trial.
Assault Weapons Ban Enforcement
The government fully expects mass non-compliance. Most experts are predicting over 80%, but nobody knows to what extent or what 80% really looks like. The State of Illinois knows very well that it will enforce this law before the SCOTUS can rule on it, and Illinois will have that gun registry for future use. I mean, how do you “un-register” a gun?
Because of this, we can no longer trust the tyrannical state of Illinois, and it is impossible to reason with them. Most of us have known this for years, but it has become blatant. Many gun owners are calling for an actual fight. Although it could come to that, make no mistake, we must make the government abundantly aware of how many of us dissent before things get any further out of control.
ISP plans to enforce it.
The ISP is a different story; its chief, Brendan Kelly, supports it, and the ISP plans to enforce it. Every member of the ISP should watch the Nuremberg Trials. PICA has broken the trust between law-abiding citizens and law enforcement. As gun owners, we have no clue what agencies, other than ISP, will enforce or to what extent; bottom line, we don’t know who we can trust.
With a law this vague, there is no way to know exactly what guns need registration and which ones don’t, not that it matters. It takes mere suspicion to get a warrant. Many gun owners wonder if the authorities will target them, arrest them, or, even worse, harm them because of their possessions or a misunderstanding of a gun law written by people who lack an understanding of guns.
Nobody wants to live in fear and be on the receiving end of violent tyranny. I would expect Illinois to lose residents over this. For those stuck here, this should be a call to action.
Gun owners need to get involved
Politicians only care about being elected or re-elected, and we need to make every state politician aware that we are paying attention, that we disagree with them, and that we are not going to just roll over. We must make the government of Illinois understand the conundrum in which they have put 2.4 million LEGAL gun owners in Illinois.
In 1994, the NRA ran a brilliant campaign because of the 94 AWB that said, If you want to get rid of stupid gun laws, you need to get rid of stupid lawmakers that pass them. Lo and behold, most members of Congress that voted for the 94 AWB lost re-election, and in 2004, when it was due to come up again, NOT ONE member of Congress would introduce it. The idea worked then and would work today.
Primary season is upon us, and local representatives will be seeking signatures and speaking at events.
On average, every state representative has 23K gun owners in their district, and every state senator has over 45K gun owners. How many of them do you think have won an election by more than that number of votes?
Every gun owner should write two letters, one to their state representative and one to their state senator, stating they will not vote for them if they support PICA.
Many of you may think this will do nothing or be a waste of time, but if a state legislator received 10,000 or 20,000 letters, it would, without a doubt, cause a stir. If every state legislator received 10,000 or 20,000 letters, it would cause serious concern. Think of that pile of mail in their office.
Editors note: To put this in perspective, I did some rough math on how big the pile of mail would be. A typical tray will hold roughly 400 pieces of mail if they DO NOT REQUIRE A SIGNATURE and are regular envelopes.
2,000,000 letters (nice round number) / 400 letters per tray is 5000 trays. The photo has 50 trays on one pallet. That would require 100 pallets. You don’t need to show up and protest to make a statement.
Imagine sorting through all that mail. Send a larger envelope requiring a signature; you do the math. Kevin may have an excellent idea, and that estimate is if everyone writes only one letter. I can’t even begin to imagine signing for that many.
The infighting and bickering in the firearms industry needs to stop
Gun owners need to get involved, and the infighting and bickering need to stop. I propose starting a new discussion that outlines what we can agree on and what actions we can take.
Help the state representatives on our side and make our voices heard by the state representatives that are not. We should be loud and very direct but not violent or unlawful. Elections are the best opportunity to stop an anti-gun politician from getting on the ballot, regardless of the party.
The time to file witness slips is over
The time of filing witness slips and being polite is long over. Never in history has gun registration NOT ended in violence by the government; read that again. Many people will say that “their” local police will not enforce it.
A majority of Illinois sheriffs wrote letters expressing their disagreement. Still, the governor threatened those sheriffs who disagreed with the law, saying he would remove them if they did not comply, sound familiar.
“The right to keep and bear arms for defense of life, liberty, and property is regarded as an inalienable right by the people. I, among many others, believe that HB 5471 is a clear violation of the 2nd Amendment to the US Constitution.”
What do we have to lose? Our gun rights
There are 2.4 million gun owners in Illinois. If the Illinois General Assembly received over a million letters of dissent, it would have a severe impact. This would take you a few minutes and cost less than a dollar.
Send letters, make phone calls, talk to your fellow gun owners, talk to your representatives, but please speak up and get involved.
The only guaranteed way to win a gunfight is not to get in it. This might be our last chance because the only guaranteed way to lose a gunfight is not to have a gun.
By Kevin Moody, owner of KAM Shooting Sports in Morton, IL
Kevin is an NRA Training Counselor and Illinois Concealed Carry License (CCL) instructor. He is a strong advocate for second amendment rights.