(Springfield, IL) – July 2, 2011. Governor Pat Quinn today quietly signed legislation that exempts Illinois Firearm Owner’s Identification Card holders from the Illinois Freedom of Information Act, easing the fears in armed households around Illinois.
“As Governor, I have made increasing openness and transparency in government one of my top priorities,” said Quinn, who released the news Saturday afternoon. “…[H]owever, it should not come at the expense of the public’s safety.”
Earlier this year, the Illinois State Police denied news media outlets’ Illinois Freedom of Information Act requests for the firearm owner’s licenses.
Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan issued a legal opinion that contradicted the state police and argued the information could be made public, like hunting licenses.
The Madigan opinion stirred the hornets in the Illinois State Rifle Association nest. The gun group launched a smear campaign against Madigan and a fear campaign against public, claiming that the heavily armed households would suddenly be vulnerable to home invasion by criminals seeking their weapons.
Gun advocates have long claimed in their campaigns for concealed carry laws that the possession or perceived possession of weapons acts as a deterrence against crime. However, in this case, the same advocates suddenly argued that the publication of a gun owner’s identity would attract crime and threaten public safety.
“Attorney General Madigan has to understand that the safety of real people is at stake here,” said ISRA Executive Director Richard Pearson.
“Once this information is released, it will be distributed to street gangs and gun control groups who will use the data to target gun owners for crime and harassment.”
Despite possessing vast stocks of weapons, it’s always mayhem around the corner with these people.
Still, some gun enthusiasts fear more than garden-variety burglaries and harassment.
“Hitler used shoe boxes to round up and murder his enemies, the Nazis here in IL have computerized databases and they can be much more efficient,” wrote a worried gun rights champion on a gun group Web site “Free Republic.”
Apparently, computer data geeks are actually Nazis. Who knew?
On this issue, the gun advocates suddenly lost faith in the horde of pistols, rifles, and assault weapons that are rife in Illinois to protect their poor, huddled, frightened, owners.
The politically influential gun group did manage, however, to scare the Illinois General Assembly and the Governor into believing that a looming “public safety” threat existed.
“This bill has the support of the Illinois State Police because it ensures that individuals who have FOID cards or who have applied for FOID cards are protected from having their personal information made public,” Quinn said, “which could make them vulnerable to potential crimes and jeopardize public safety.”
Now everyone can sleep safely in his or her bed.