Benton, IL – State Senator Gary Forby (D-Benton), State Representative John Bradley (D-Marion), and State Representative Brandon Phelps (D-Harrisburg) are furious that Chicago Democrats are trying to pass Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s anti-gun laws. The two measures passed a House committee late last week. One requires all FOID card holders to register their guns and pay a $20 per firearm fee. The other charges a tax on ammunition. The majority of the money collected by the taxes goes to Chicago area programs.
“I’m spitting mad,” Forby said. “These Chicago politicians are trying to take our guns out of our hands. They’re trying to take money from Southern Illinois to pay for their own programs. It is our Constitutional right to own guns. The mayor of Chicago and his cronies may not respect the Constitution of the United States, but we do.”
“Registering guns and charging excessive fees is just another step toward taking all of our guns away,” Bradley said. “Taking guns away from law-abiding Southern Illinois hunters isn’t going to solve Chicago’s violence problems. They’re not the ones murdering people on the mayor’s streets.”
“I can’t believe these Chicago politicians think we’re just going to roll over and let them push their ridiculous laws on Southern Illinois,” Phelps said. “It’s time for them to face the facts and realize that guns don’t kill people. People kill people, and criminals are not the ones who are going to register their weapons. Only law-abiding citizens like the people in Southern Illinois will end up paying these Chicago gun taxes.”
All three Southern Illinois Democrats are strong advocates of allowing Illinoisans to carry concealed weapons.
“I think the time has come for conceal carry in Illinois,” Bradley added.
“Maybe the Chicago mayor thinks his bills are a starting point for negotiations,” Forby said. “They’re not. We’re not negotiating. We’re killing these bills.”
“I don’t know what these Chicago politicians are thinking,” Phelps said. “The governor wants to close prisons and cut parole officers, and the mayor wants to take our guns. Do they think that will make anyone safer?”
Downstate Democrats are also encouraging supporters of the 2nd Amendment to sign a petition opposing the Chicago gun laws at www.OpposeChicagoGunLaws.com, and Illinois Gun Owners Lobby Day is Wednesday.
Years served: 2001-2003 (House); 2003 - Present (Senate)
Committee assignments: Energy; Labor and Commerce (Chairperson); Licensed Activities and Pensions; Committee of the Whole; Subcommittee on Natural Resources.
Biography: Born January 4, 1945, in Anna, Illinois. Full-time state legislator; former farmer and businessman; past chairman, Franklin County Board; former member, Franklin - Williamson Human Services Board; current member, Southern Illinois Workforce Man-Tra-Con Board, Operating Engineers and Laborers' International unions.