Stewart, Cabello raise issues over 'rushed' gun legislation
Reps. Brian Stewart (R-Freeport) and John Cabello (R-Machesney Park) had serious issues with recent Democratic-sponsored gun legislation, saying the bills were rushed and had negative Second Amendment rights consequences.
At the Feb. 27 House Judiciary Criminal Committee meeting, HB1664, presented by Rep. Kathleen Willis (D-Addison) on behalf of Rep. Deb Conroy (D-Villa Park), which, would pose further restrictions on gun dealers to restrict the authorization of firearm owner identification (FOID) cards to mentally ill patients and provide a hotline to the public when a firearm is in the hands of a wrong person, was one of five Democratic-sponsored gun bills Stewart said was rushed.
“This bill has merit and I can see where it is going and I certainly support it, but not in its current shape,” Stewart said. “All of these were filed less than 24 hours ago, and we are trying to ramrod all of these things through at the last moment.”
He said in trying to speed read the 50-page amendment that was filed the day prior, it reads that a gun licensing department would have probable cause to investigate if notified of a clear and present danger or if the applicant was in a mentally ill facility in the last 10 years, which presents a problem for the state police who authorize the FOID certification.
“That’s the problem we have with trying to ramrod these bills through without collaboration from both sides,” Stewart said.
Like Stewart, Cabello had concerns about state police being tipped off by a hotline caller and then not having the ability to legally authorize a search of the individual's home. Even with a search warrant, Cabello said the bill infringes on the civil liberties of Illinoisans.
“I can guarantee you, there is no way the state police, as great as they are, are going to be able to handle the amount of calls that come in, no way shape or form,” Cabello said.
He said with some of the lowest state police staffing levels since 1983, the bill will not be able to be successfully implemented; however, Willis said the state police already have a system in place with 911 calls that can be used with the tip line.
“We are not reinventing the wheel, we are just putting in a mechanism to make it go a little bit better,” Willis said.
“But it is not going to go better, it is going to go much worse,” Cabello said, adding the reason for 911 is to have an immediate response, but that is not the case with the tip line. “Investigations don’t happen like this, it’s not TV, there is a lot things that have to go into this.”
HB1664 advanced through committee on an 8-5 vote despite Stewart and Cabello’s concerns.