Capitol Commentary
Quick Run Down on HB148

by Todd Vandermyde,
ISRA Legislative Chair

April 22, 2011

We are getting reports from the capitol that colleges and universities are trying to kill HB-148.

In talks with law enforcement groups, we took buildings off limits. Then in later talk with others, the campus was off limits, with exceptions for driving through or leaving your gun in your car in a parking lot.

Seems now the Colleges and Public Universities who are being led by SIU, want nothing less than a felony for any possession of a firearm on their property – something we will not agree to. So their plan is to keep finding things to object to so they can keep opposing the bill to try and make press and create public opposition.

Many of you have downstate reps who are supportive, have colleges in their districts and are the targets of these attacks along with suburban legislators trying to play on the fears of parents who may have kids away at school. If you have a downstate legislator who covers, Western, U of I or SIU or any other university call them and tell them your feelings about the colleges trying to kill the bill. Call today!

In other news the anti-gunners as you guys have seen held a press conference to trying to gin up opposition to HB-148 by claiming that the current background check system can’t handle the influx of handgun carry license applicants and that the system is missing 100’s of thousands of mental health records. Therefore, dangerous people will get guns and go out and murder people over parking spaces or recreate Tucson.

The fact is the proposal that we are working will help fund the State Police and better their infrastructure.

The current FOID and FTIP system was written in COBOL (there I got it right) and is aged. They estimate they need $7 million for a new computer system. A little more if you add in the carry permit stuff they say.

At the dog and pony show some called an approp hearing, it was clear that it was a set up to get at sound bites to try and gain traction and gin up opposition against HB-148.

First is the mythical 120,000 missing mental health records. This number is a complete guestimate based upon missing records from other states, and the extrapolating that percentage against Illinois’ population. The State Police testified that they did not believe this number to be accurate.

Next up is the State Police computer system used to run FOID and FTIP. FTIP (Firearms Transfer Inquiry Program) being the background check for retail purchases. Seems it was written in that archaic computer language of COBOL. Which from the techies I have talked to is akin to latin.

However, the legislature last session passed HB-51 dealing with procurement and ethics and now that law is making it harder for them (ISP) to get a contract update so they can have an upgraded system. For which they got $1.2 mill grant from the DOJ for.

They next turn to the argument that until the system is “fixed” we should not be passing right to carry because dangerous people might get guns and do bad things. Which begs some questions:

Just what kind of records do they want included to determine who can have the right to own or carry a firearm? The Department of Human Services testified that some doctors don’t report “dangerous” people because as they said why would we wait till they got that far gone when they are under our (the doctors) care? If they got that ill, then the doctor would commit them and they would be reported to DHS and then State Police via their admission.

So how many privacy laws, and sneak peeks into personal healthcare do they want? When is enough enough? What next, mandatory reporting of everyone that sees a doctor for anything having to do with mental health? How about marriage counseling?

And yet at the same time, the anti-gunners want to mandate the very system they are complaining about for all private sales. Anti-gunner claim that 60% of sales occur at retail outlets, with 40% of sales taking place between private parties.

If that is true, then with HB-1296, they seek to dump an additional 100,000 sales and background checks into a system they say can’t handle it. Does that make any sense? Not really, but it is a matter of convenience for them as they simply want to pick and choose what facts or issues are covenant to their thinking at the moment. One must ask that if the system is so bad, are they calling for a halt of all gun sales? Should the State Police stop issuing FOID cards?

But what the anti-gunners really did was give us the opportunity to show how Right to Carry benefits the State Police.

The State Police estimated at the same sham hearing that they expected to see 325,000 applicants for carry permits. The fee for the permit would be $25 to the sheriff and $75 to the State Police. The State Police tell us that it costs them about $40 - $45 to run those background checks. So $45 from $75 leaves us with a net of $30. $30 x 325,000 = $9,750,000. That is almost $10 million NET to the State Police.

That is $3 million more than they need to build a state of the art computer system. And in years 6,7,8, if you average out the 325,000 applicants that equates to 65,000 people per year. At $50 per permit going straight to the State Police, there is another $3.2 million a year in annual fees.

If we hit the 4% of the general population like other states have, then we would see 475,000 permits and $15 million net to the State Police. If we hit the Florida mark of 794,000 permits, the State Police would see almost $29 million in upfront fees.

The fact is gun owners have a way to help improve the infrastructure of the State Police and get them a new state of the art computer system that will help them do their job, without trampling on the rights of gun owners.

So the question is, why do anti-gunners oppose us finding a way to help the State Police? Why do they oppose a bill that would build a better computer and background check system, but then want to dump as many as 100,000 more background checks into this “incomplete” system?

Call your State Representative today, and tell them to:

Support HB-148;

Oppose the Felony provisions of anti-gun university presidents;

Support HB-148's provisions for building a better State Police Computer system for background checks.

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