Illinois – -(AmmoLand.com)- Thousands of Second Amendment activists marched on the Illinois State Capitol building in Springfield, reminding lawmakers that gun owners are paying attention, and they’re not taking the rap for crimes they didn’t commit.
According to an estimate from WICS/WRSP, the event drew some 8,000 gun owners, which eclipses the few hundred who showed up for the first such rally and march back in the 1990s. The first such event drew only 200 participants, the station said.
The report noted that Mike Weisman, a member of the Illinois State Rifle Association board of directors, observed, “Every day, you look on the news. Every day, gun owners are under attack. Legislators come up with some new scheme to try to take away our rights.”
The Illinois Gun Owners Lobby Day (IGOLD) has become a tradition in the Prairie State. It’s an example that gun rights activists in other states could follow, and did recently in Salem, Oregon, where there is some nasty gun control legislation up for a hearing on Tuesday, April 2, according to the Oregon Firearms Federation. In the Beaver State, 44 pages of amended language to Senate Bill 978 will be the subject of the Tuesday hearing. According to and OFF Alert, “it’s a gun grabber’s dream.”
The hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee will begin at 8 a.m. and OFF is urging Oregon gun owners to “be there early.”
Back in the Land of Lincoln, demonstrators wearing bright yellow/gold T-shirts and caps came from all over the state as they have in past years. The message they deliver annually is basic: Chicago politics should not dictate to the rest of Illinois. A video of the event may be watched here.
Some who were not wearing the IGOLD shirts were wearing gray shirts that stated, “I Will Not Comply.”
They marched, according to the State Journal-Record, from the Bank of Springfield Center down Capitol Avenue to the Capitol building. They couldn’t be ignored as they blocked an entire street from curb-to-curb and the crowd stretched out for several blocks. The newspaper quoted several people who attended, with statements such as that from Effingham activist Steve Tegeler.
He told the newspaper, “We don’t want these bad things to happen to us. I hope these other representatives, and the senators, and the governor is paying attention to what the actual people in the state want and not what they try to force down everybody’s throat.”
One man carried a sign that stated, “Illinois Democrats Are Proving, We’re Not Going Away.” Another person had a sign that said simply “My Gun, My Right.”
There were several speakers, including Republican lawmakers who advised the citizen lobbyists to be polite, but firm.
IGOLD has been an annual event for many years. It always draws thousands of like-minded citizens to the Capitol, where they have an opportunity to visit with state lawmakers in their offices, and also to make a visual statement that there are thousands more gun owners who couldn’t make the trek, but who will be ready to cast their votes on Election Day. They come by bus, or carpool, but they make it every year.
What Illinois gun rights activists have done is provide an example of what their contemporaries in other states could be doing right now, with state legislatures in session. The bigger the crowd, the bigger the impression it leaves when the participants go back home, especially if they stay in contact with the offices of their local representatives and senators.
About Dave Workman