SPRINGFIELD - Not only is the IL GOP divided over social issues that present themselves for votes in the General Assembly, the recent avalanche of leftist maneuvers to restrict 2nd Amendment liberties is showing light on how undependable a growing number of Republican lawmakers are.
The Illinois Republican Party's latest updated platform is clear in its support of citizens' right to defend themselves and opposition to anything that impedes law-abiding citizens' to "keep and bear arms." But there is a growing number of those that ran as Republicans to win seats in the Illinois General Assembly that are either ignoring or outright rejecting that constitutional right.
The National Rifle Association recently alerted their members in Illinois about legislation that would mount even more gun dealer licensing obstacles:
Senate Amendment 3 to Senate Bill 337, sponsored by Senator Don Harmon (D-3), would create an onerous gun dealer licensing scheme within the state. While the purported intent of this legislation was to enhance “responsible business practices,” these bills only prove that the intention is to close as many federally licensed firearm dealers (FFLs) as possible. The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) licenses and closely monitors all FFLs and strictly enforces any violation of federal law. SA 3 to SB 337 go so far beyond federal law in its mandatory regulations and red tape imposed at the state level that they would almost assuredly force the closure of most firearm dealers and prevent prospective owners from opening new ones. This legislation seeks to create so many department divisions, anti-gun 5-member licensing boards, and licensing fees that dealers would be forced to close through oversight by anti-gun appointees or being priced out of business. (Click here to sign witness slip for SA 3 to SB 337)
Two Illinois Republican senators - John Curran of Woodbridge and Chris Nybo of Lombard - not only voted to support SB 337, they signed on a co-sponsors: an outright slap to the NRA. When the vote came before the Illinois Senate, a third joined Curran and Nybo - Tom Rooney of Palatine - to vote in full support of SB 337.
Jim Oberweis of Aurora voted "P" for present, while other Republican senators chose not to be on the floor to vote at all on the bill: Dan McConchie, Karen McConnaughay and Paul Schimpf.
Those seven votes among Illinois Senate members against the 2nd Amendment are indicative of the lack of IL GOP leadership's whipping skills, or the leadership's lack of interest in holding caucus members to the IL GOP Platform planks. It also shows the lack of allegiance to the party faithful - a situation that will contribute to less and less voter enthusiasm statewide.
But it could be just as serious in the Illinois House Republican caucus. The only vote taken thus far on SB 337 was Thursday in the Illinois House Judicial - Criminal Committee. Of the 13 committee members - eight Democrats and five Republicans - only three Republicans opposed the SB337's passage to the House floor. Those Rs that voted "no" include Brian Stewart, Terri Bryant and John Cabello. Republicans Lindsay Parkhurst of Kankakee and Barbara Wheeler of McHenry didn't vote.
One Republican state rep - the retiring Steve Andersson of Geneva - is belligerent to the IL GOP Platform, he has signed on as a co-sponsor of SB 337.
A vote could be taken any day next week as the spring session winds down. If the bill passes the House, it goes to Governor Rauner.
The IL GOP's section on Second Amendment rights: