At this point, it’s probably more newsworthy to write about an event that’s still scheduled, since everything from the NRA Annual Meeting to the Major League Baseball season is either being postponed or cancelled. Put the Illinois Gun Owner Lobby Day in the postponed column, after it and all other large-scale events at the state capitol in Illinois were halted after the Secretary of State put new measures in place to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus.
Illinois State Rifle Association Executive Director Richard Pearson said they are postponing Illinois Gun Owner Lobby Day, or I-GOLD. That was supposed to be April 1.
“I think about all these disabled people who come in there that aren’t healthy anyway,” Pearson said. “I can understand why they did it, you know”
Pearson said the tentative rescheduled date is May 13. In the meantime, he encouraged gun rights supporters to lobby lawmakers virtually.
“Of course if they have computers they can email them and they have their lawmaker’s address off of the state website [ILGA.gov],” Pearson said. “You just look them up and you’ll see their capitol phone number and also their email. So you can email them or simply call them.”
It’s good advice, given that work by lawmakers will continue even while access to the capitol by the public will be limited, at least for now. The legislative session has been cancelled for next week, but lawmakers are supposed to return to Springfield on March 23rd. Among the gun bills currently being considered is SB1966, which would require fingerprinting for all gun owners in the state, as well as adding more than $100 dollars to the cost of acquiring the required license to own a firearm in the state.
The bill is currently up in the state Senate for a concurrence vote, and may very well have already passed by the time I-GOLD rolled around on April 1st. There’s nothing stopping gun owners in Illinois from calling or writing their state senators now, and that’s exactly what they should be doing. It’s likely that the bill will pass and be signed by Gov. J.B. Pritzker, but it’s still important for these lawmakers to hear from an overwhelming number of constituents who are opposed to these new restrictions and fees to exercise a fundamental constitutional right.