Letter: Where are the anti-gunners now?

Over the last several weeks, I’ve read letters in the paper regarding the banning of firearms, such as “We need to rethink our gun laws” and “Speaking out against high-capacity firearm magazines.”

These letters did nothing more than make wild, unfounded accusations and disseminate anti-gun propaganda. Instead of doing a service to the community, they only spread more anti-gun rhetoric.

Within the last few weeks, the Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan proposed that all of the Illinois Firearm Owners Identification Program (FOID) information become public knowledge, exposing gun owners and non-gun owners alike to irreparable damage. She is doing this despite severe opposition from a number of different organizations, including the gatekeepers of that information, the Illinois State Police.

Until now, the Illinois State Police were required to keep this information private with the exception of sharing of information during a criminal investigation. FOID cards are required to carry some very specific information about an individual, including information that an identity thief would love to have. Making information such as this public knowledge is blatantly irresponsible and no different than printing your driver’s license, social security card or birth certificate. Why is Lisa Madigan doing this, because the Associated Press (AP) asked her to? Why does the AP need this information, and what are they going to do with it?

I want you to take a minute and consider the youth in Illinois. Out of the 1.3 million FOID holders in the state, how many are youth students still in school whose information can now be shared by anyone? How will this affect such issues as student loan applications, college applications, insurance premiums, health care costs, school boards and a myriad of other institutions?

Illinois law dictates that to be in possession of a firearm or ammunition you must be in possession of a FOID card. I know many youth that are registered FOID card holders because of the rare instance they are considered not within “immediate control” of a parent. I have had DNR (Department of Natural Resources) Officers tell me that “immediate control” is a judgment call based on the situation and the officer.

A youth hunting with his father gets temporarily separated because of the terrain, or something as innocent as a return trip from a sporting goods store to purchase ammunition and leaving your youth in the vehicle while running in to pay for pumped gas, either could result in a violation of the law. Therefore, the need for youth to possess a FOID card is something that is a no-brainer for responsible firearm owners. Doing so protects both him and his family.

The irresponsible action by our attorney general of bowing to the request of the AP affects not only gun owners/users but everyone in the community. Addresses of homes potentially housing firearms will more likely not be targeted by intruders. Studies show that criminals feel more comfortable knowing that homeowners don’t possess a firearm and are chosen over homes or families that do.

Bottom line, it’s not the gun owners who should worry. Neighborhoods that are lax in FOID residents will soon become the havens for thieves and burglars alike, knowing that their percentage of finding a gun owner is slim. Additional police presence will be required in those areas, and with the current economy, municipal budget cuts are already taxing the services being able to be provided.

I’m not suggesting that someone who doesn’t believe in guns to go out and become a gun owner. I’m not suggesting that individuals give up their rights as an American—far from it. What I am saying is that they should act as Americans and do what is for the good of the nation: stop the release of this information since it will only lead to more crime and violence. Simple-minded anti-gun backers would rather give out the information, assuming that it will shame American’s who believe in the Second Amendment into giving up their gun rights for fear of being labeled.

Instead, they will be harboring the identity thieves who will use that same information to illegally purchase more guns to go out onto your streets, to map your neighborhoods where breaking and entering will be easier, to empower institutions with the ability to profile your youth and increase costs of services to you.

Does that really sound like a better way of life for Illinoisans, Mrs. Madigan? Are you ready to end up like Rhode Island, where the Attorney General hosts “Toy Gun Bash” at the elementary school? Where grade school students bring in their toy guns right before Christmas and have them crushed before their eyes in the gym by a machine called the “Bash-O-Matic.” What type of message does that send to our youth? It’s OK to trade away your rights at school?

Where will it end? Are you ready to pay a higher premium because you live next door to someone who has a FOID card? You don’t have to concede your beliefs about guns to stop our attorney general from making a huge mistake that affects us all.

Ted Mikrut
Maple Park