We’ve all felt it. We’ve all had conversations, discussions, and disagreements with friends from different parts of the State that have only bolstered our feelings. We see it in the news on a daily basis. It’s hard to avoid the sense that we have two different Illinois’- one that those in Chicago and the suburbs experience and another distinct Illinois embodied by those living outside Cook and the Collar Counties.
Over the past year, I spent a lot of time going door to door and talking with residents and voters in our region. If you live in Stephenson, Jo Daviess, Winnebago, Carroll, Ogle, or Whiteside Counties, you likely not only know this to be true but may have even talked with me when I came to your door. In those discussions, many important topics came up— property taxes, jobs, children and grandchildren moving out of Illinois for work and starting their families elsewhere. All common and expected topics. All topics our elected officials should be readied and held accountable to answer during their time in public service.
Nonetheless, I never once had a person at their doorstep tell me that their top priority is tasking the Illinois State Police with the role of reviewing and systematically analyzing social media accounts, like Facebook or Twitter to issue a Firearm Owner Identification Card. This is to look for reasons to restrict access to an otherwise-law-abiding citizens Constitutional Rights, in this case, the second amendment. Nobody suggested that as a way to bring jobs back to Illinois, to keep our kids and grandkids here, or to protect our biggest investments- our homes and families or that this is in line with the priorities pressing our State.
However, now that legislators are filing their bills in Springfield, I see one of my Democratic colleagues must have heard a whole different message when he went door to door in Buffalo Grove, a suburb of Chicago on the edge of Cook County. That is the only explanation as to why Rep. Daniel Didech could have filed a bill requiring the Illinois State Police to do just that.
Surely, he must know that the processing time for a Citizen seeking a Firearm Owner Identification card (FOID) is already delayed and is often in violation of State Law. Surely, he must understand before each firearm purchase that background checks are performed. Surely, he must know that criminals do not follow laws passed by government bodies. If they did, would not be criminals in the first place. Surely, most would conclude that the type of laws like Rep. Didech proposed in House Bill 888 create unnecessary bureaucracy, unacceptable delays, and is an outrageous infringement on law-abiding citizens exercising both their Second and First Amendment Rights. Right?!
I was sent to Springfield to help right the ship. My guess is that Rep. Didech’s constituents in Buffalo Grove believed they were doing the same. While we sometimes are led to believe there are two Illinois’ when we read these stories, I’m optimistically not sure that’s true.
The good people of Buffalo Grove certainly must care about their property tax rates and the value of their largest investments. They must love their children and grandchildren as much as we do here and want to keep them nearby. They certainly must care about jobs in their community and the opportunity to prosper in Illinois.
My office has received countless e-mails asking me to oppose HB 888 and the flurry of other anti-2nd Amendment bills filed in the Illinois General Assembly. Of course, I will vote to protect your Constitutional Rights, as I had sworn to do so when I took the oath of office.
In the years ahead, it will be incumbent upon members of the General Assembly to help knock down these threats on our Constitutional Rights, but also to stay focused on why we were sent to Springfield. We are hemorrhaging jobs and people in Illinois. Let’s stay focused on those issues you shared at your doorsteps and don’t allow your elected officials to skirt making the hard decisions with distracting diversions.
I promise to continue to stay vigilant and stay focused on your behalf.
If you have any additional thoughts or ideas, you can reach Sally or me at 815-232-0774, or visit my website at www.repchesney.com.