By Richard Pearson
Illinois –-(Ammoland.com)- On behalf of myself along with the officers and directors of the Illinois State Rifle Association, I would like to wish each of you and your families a happy Independence Day.
With all that’s been going on both at home and abroad lately, it’s easy to wonder at times whether July 4th remains as a celebration of our independence or whether the day now serves as a memorial to the independence we once had.
Those who nurtured this nation from concept to reality just over two centuries ago firmly believed that the natural state of man was to be free. Today, those who “lead” our nation believe that the natural state of man is to conform to a standard of behavior concocted by the culturally elite. Today’s leaders assert that freedom is an overwhelming burden on the common man. Thus, the citizen’s daily life must be subject to the benevolent guiding hand of government as he labors under the threat of chastisement for failure to conform.
I hate to say it ladies and gentlemen, but our nation has turned nearly 180 degrees in the past decade and we are quickly becoming that from which we declared independence 237 years ago. Here in Illinois, the sad state of personal liberty has been starkly illustrated in the long-running battle to make concealed carry a reality.
Let’s stop for a moment here and examine what concealed carry is really all about. In essence, all that is being asked is for the state to establish a framework within which law-abiding citizens may be deemed qualified to carry a defensive weapon. Within that context, the state of being “qualified” provides society with reasonable assurance that defensive weapons may be carried lawfully with no adverse impact on daily life.
In all honesty, seeking to establish that framework wouldn’t require a major cultural shift or a sea change in public policy. After all, humans are born with the right to defend themselves, even through the application of deadly force.
All proponents of concealed carry have been asking for is an extension of those innate rights through the deployment of handguns – which are the most effective self defense tools available.
Concealed carry has some very powerful opponents here in Illinois. These people do not believe that average citizens may be trusted to exercise their basic right to self defense. The premise is that the state is best qualified to determine who is worth defending and who is not worth defending. In turn, the state will apply resources necessary to protect those people who are believed worthy of defense. If you are not part of that special class of people, chances are you will have to either live life as a hermit, or rely on your ability to run away from danger to keep yourself alive. As you may suspect, that special class of people includes politicians, government bigwigs, and celebrities – all of whom are provided with armed security guards, often at the expense of those deemed unworthy of defense.
As you know, the only way we could bring concealed carry to the forefront was through a lawsuit. The success of that lawsuit forced Illinois to pass and enact a suitable concealed carry law. As it stands, a fairly good bill has been passed, but is now subject to major revisions by the governor through his amendatory veto handed down earlier this week.
It’s important to note that the effort to comply with the court order provided great insight into how opponents of concealed carry view the rights of the individual and the social worth of the average citizens. As you may know, our side brought only two concealed carry bills forward whereas the other side brought forth several. Based on the content of the opposition’s bills, it became very clear that the other side finds it more important to maintain their twisted view of social order than it is to preserve and protect the lives and safety of individual citizens.
It goes without saying that this viewpoint held by opponents of self defense conflicts deeply with the course plotted for this country by the Founding Fathers.
The experience of successfully guiding a concealed carry bill through both chambers of the general assembly confirmed my belief that opponents of concealed carry, and gun controllers in general, believe that the perceived “rights” of the state trump individual liberty. The fact that these extremists are in control of Illinois constitutes a very sad state of affairs.
In the end, we expect that we will prevail over the governor’s amendatory veto. But, if we are to be successful, there are a few things we need you to do.
First, take some time this holiday weekend to ponder what America is supposed to be all about. Reacquaint yourself with the pure concepts of individual freedom and self determination. Recommit yourself to the ideals that the framers laid out in our Constitution. Once you get back in touch with the ideals upon which this nation was founded, go out and preach about the blessings of freedom to all who will listen.
Second, we need you to get on your phones and call your State Senators and State Representatives. Tell them that you expect them to vote to override Governor Quinn’s amendatory veto of HB0183. Continue to call until the override vote is recorded next week. If you do not know who your legislators are, click here. http://tiny.cc/4fhrzw
Third, we must ask that you help the ISRA out financially. We are running low on cash as a result of this protracted battle to develop and pass a workable concealed carry bill. To make a donation, you may either mail us a check at the address below, or go on line at the ISRA Store (click here). http://tiny.cc/rghrzw
God Bless America, Richard Pearson Executive Director Illinois State Rifle Association
Fourth, and most importantly, do not give up hope for a better day for America. There has been a lot of rough sledding the past two centuries, but Americans always toughed it out and came away much the better for all the adversity they suffered.
The ISRA is the state’s leading advocate of safe, lawful and responsible firearms ownership. Since 1903, the ISRA has represented the interests of over 1.5 million law-abiding Illinois firearm owners Visit: www.isra.org