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Illinois Assembly Sends Gun Lobby Packing, Passes Sensible Gun Show Loophole Law

With intense lobbying from the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence and Million Mom March Chapters, common sense legislators voted overwhelmingly for a strong, reasonable bill (SB 1333) to close the gun show loophole by preventing criminals, domestic abusers and would-be terrorists from using gun shows to arm themselves without a background check.

Illinois' General Assembly has sent to Gov. Blagojevich two bills that would close the gun show loophole. One is a "Trojan horse" (SB 57) favored by the extreme gun lobby that would exact a dangerous price for requiring background checks at gun shows by adding the provision that requires destruction of records police say they need to investigate crime. The other, which the Governor pledged to sign, closes the gun show background check loophole without the wrongheaded records destruction requirement.

Standing tall with Illinois law enforcement leaders, the legislators have enabled Illinois' Gov. Rod Blagojevich to reject the gun lobby's dreadful bill that would have eviscerated records of gun sales to dangerous individuals by falsely categorizing it as protecting privacy. The only individuals whose privacy would have been infringed by the bill would have been the privacy of people with something to hide from the police - people who arm themselves and then become a threat to public safety.

"The Illinois General Assembly's actions on SB 1333 will ensure that terrorists and criminals don't gain easy access to guns," said Mike Barnes, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. "And Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich deserves a great deal of praise. He stood tall against political intimidation, and he never wavered from his commitment to do the right thing for public safety."

The fight was long and saw many surprising developments – at least one with national implications. Facing a defeat on legislation closing the gun show loophole, the National Rifle Association's Illinois lobbyist, Todd Vandermyde, publicly endorsed the policy. The Illinois State Rifle Association called it "an important piece of anti-terrorism legislation." But the gun lobbyists exhibited more than a little hubris in thinking the only option for the Governor was to close the loophole in the gun lobby's terms.

"We're glad the NRA was finally brought kicking and screaming to the table on this issue after more than ten years of total opposition," said Jim Brady, chair of the Brady Campaign. "Everyone in Illinois should be grateful to the General Assembly and the Governor for rejecting the NRA's efforts to sneak through a bad bill in the process."

*FW Note:

Oh Happy Day. A solution to a problem that didn't exist.

One more excuse for people who hate freedom to stick their nose in someone else's business.

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