In early March the battle to protect our rights as law abiding gun owners began again in earnest in the state of New Jersey with the introduction of a 50 caliber ban in the form of adding a new definition of a "Destructive Device" to an existing law. Senate bill 1498 and Assembly bill 3998 both add to existing law a new definition of what a destructive device is.Illinois Follows Suit:
At the same time the state of Illinois introduced two anti-50 caliber bills of their own. HB 873 was initially introduced as an expansion of their existing Assault Weapons Bill and it added the fifty caliber rifle (and many others) to that existing law. After a short period of time SB 1471 was introduced which is a stand alone bill just banning the 50 caliber rifle.FCI Joins Forces With Other Groups:
Since before this battle began FCI has been working in conjunction with several other gun rights organizations to do everything we can to educate the legislators of both Illinois and New Jersey to the rights of law abiding gun owners. In both states we are facing tremendous odds simply because of the changes that resulted from the elections last November. Each state has Democratic majorities in both houses and are known for their anti-gun political posture.For more information on The Fifty Caliber Institute, go here.
In IL SB 1471 has been voted out of committee already and can be brought up onto the Senate floor for a vote at any time. The identical bill HB 873 on the House side of the legislature has also been voted out of committee and can be voted on any time.
During the week of March 19th both of these bills were intensely lobbied by many people within the fifty caliber community. Ronnie Barrett, owner of Barrett Firearms Manufacturing and Mark Westrom, owner of Armalite Inc. led a delegation of representatives from the Illinois State Rifle Association (ISRA); the ILA Office of NRA and the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) to educate legislators on the real facts relating to the fifty caliber target rifle. On Tuesday March 20th they spent the entire day meeting with state senators in an effort to garner the support to kill this devastating piece of legislation. Each member of this delegation was present to provide information at the hearings on HB 873 on Wednesday morning. Regardless of the information presented, HB 873 and two other very serious anti-gun bills passed out of committee when voted on that day.
Both of these bills now present a serious threat to the law abiding owners of fifty caliber target rifles in IL. These bills can be called to the floor of either legislative body at any time for a vote. Right now is the time for all gun owners in IL to get involved and call their legislative representatives and voice your opposition to these bills.
We are asking everyone who is a member of a shooting sports organization to forward this email to as many email addresses as you can and to share this message on as many gun rights forums as you can. We need to send a crystal clear message to the legislature in IL that we will not tolerate another debacle like what happened in CA four years ago. Law abiding gun owners need to stand together on this issue and fight to keep our right to enjoy our sport. If we don't, the next rifle they come for will be your scoped deer rifle.
To read the latest issue of the FCI newsletter, which includes a report of the recent match which took place in Waco Texas at Tiger Valley, go here.