Monday, March 4, 2019
2A Town Hall, March 4, Enfield
We will NOT comply!
That was the tone of tonight's town hall meeting in tiny Enfield, IL.
The meeting was well attended, with reports of 400 + folks signing in. Several were from surrounding counties including Edwards, Wayne, and Gallatin. There may have been other counties represented but I had confirmed contact with folks from those three. There were also several law enforcement officials from other counties as well as at least one officer from District 19 ISP (I'm assuming in an unofficial capacity as I know the officer lives in White county and wasn't in uniform).
Speaking this evening were Representative Darren Bailey (R, 109th), Senator Dale Righter (R, 55th), White County State's Attorney Denton Aud, White County Sheriff Doug Maier, as well as Mike and Valinda Rowe (Illinois Carry and ISRA).
After a brief welcome and introductions, Rep. Bailey opened the meeting with prayer followed by Valinda leading us in a recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance. (That's how we do things down here in the parts of IL that are still America)
Valinda spoke about past lawsuits that were important to Concealed Carry and gun ownership in IL and the importance of being informed. She gave excellent instructions on signing up for alerts from Illinoiscarry.com and how to log in for the discussion forums to help coordinate with like minded folks.
Rep. Bailey had the stage at this point and mentioned that he has three Chicago Reps that have committed to spending some time in the area this summer in order to learn about the vast differences between their home and ours. I thought this was a great plan and I hope they hold to that commitment, it's much better than simply arguing with them and lets them see what culture outside of the city is like, as well as the poor state of our infrastructure. He went on to mention the effectiveness of phone calls and emails to other Reps that introduce bills and/or sit on different committees. The "per-mile" tax and the "No guns in Churches" bills being two examples that have been pulled due to large amounts of negative feedback.
Rep. Bailey ended his segment by assuring everyone in attendance that if SB107 ("Assault Weapons" ban) were to pass, that he will not register his own firearms. This resulted in a large applause as you might expect.
Senator Righter took the podium next and expressed the need to contact members of the Senate Judiciary Committee in order to pass along our opposition to SB107. He stressed that respect was key in this as being rude would just cause them to ignore the pleas. I agree with this but would add that one can be firm and respectful at the same time. The folks that push these bills don't expect a coordinated resistance and we need to show them just that.
Sen. Righter did go on to say that he feels SB107 is an Unconstitutional and inappropriate bill and that he would fight it as such. He reminded everyone that a basic distrust in government is exactly what led to the Bill of Rights in the first place and bills like this are a perfect example of government overreach.
Next up was White County State's Attorney, Denton Aud. Mr. Aud spent some time discussing the discretion that is afforded to the State's Attorney's office and that his job is to pursue justice rather than simply prosecute crimes. His oath states that he is to uphold the Constitution of the United States and to protect the people that have elected him. He feels that these proposed laws are at odds with the U.S. Constitution and, after discussion with the Sheriff and Police Chiefs in White, he will not prosecute a person in White County for simple violation of a law like SB107, if they are an otherwise law-abiding citizen. Mr. Aud received a standing ovation.
Sheriff Doug Maier took the stage briefly and reinforced that he and other LEO in White will not arrest for a violation of SB107, given that the citizen is otherwise law-abiding. (Note: he is referring to his Deputies and other local PDs, not the ISP, as he can't speak for them)
At this point the floor was opened for questions, which were general in nature and answered fairly concisely. One attendee asked about the new regulations for gun shops, SA Aud stated that IL State Regulation of a business was not Unconstitutional as far as he could tell. Mike and Valinda Rowe mentioned that the law is being examined in detail for any cracks that can be exploited with a lawsuit but that none have yet been found.
I felt that the meeting was informative and thought that the speakers all did a very good job and were reassuring, particularly for those living in White County. Of course, Sen. Righter said it best...we need to stop SB107 from ever becoming law, rather than discussing how to avoid prosecution if it does become law.
You'll forgive me for the blandness, I'm much more accustomed to tossing out my own thoughts rather than reporting things (if you can call this reporting).