The Bulwark rips apart Illinois gun control measure

AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty, File

The publication The Bulwark is kind of interesting. Started by Never Trump Republicans, it has slowly slid more and more toward the left in many ways. Many of the personalities there may have been pro-gun before, but with the inclusion of former gun industry insider turned anti-gun zealot Ryan Busse, it seems some of them slid the other direction.


So in a report about Illinois sheriffs refusing to enforce the state’s new gun control law, I was surprised to see an honest assessment of just how little some parts of the law will actually accomplish.

PICA does a few things, the biggest of which is a ban on the sale or transfer of certain rifles deemed to be “assault weapons.” People who already own such firearms will be required to register them with the state government by January 1, 2024, once a system for registration has been created later this year.

The law also, as the governor’s office noted in a press release, “caps sales of high-capacity ammunition magazines, bans ‘switches’ that convert legal handguns into assault weapons, and extends the ability of courts to prevent dangerous individuals from possessing a gun through firearm restraining orders.”

Let’s deal with these three provisions one by one.

First, the ban on new high-capacity magazines, such as the 30-round magazines reportedly used by the accused shooter in the Highland Park massacre. Practically speaking, such a ban is virtually unenforceable, except as an after-the-fact charge for another crime. Magazines are cheap, they almost always lack serial numbers, they are easily available in other states, and nowadays they can even be produced with a 3D printer.

Second, the Illinois law’s new state-level ban on “switches”: This is a fine provision, although somewhat duplicative as they’re already illegal under federal law. Switches allow someone—with little skill required—to turn a semiautomatic Glock handgun, America’s most popular, into a fully automatic machine gun. All for just about $25. It’s somewhat disturbing and awfully hard to regulate, because it is basically a piece of plastic.


It’s only on the red flag law that The Bulwark mentioned but failed to really address the problems or how such a law is doomed to fail.

For example, the red flag law was already in place, yet did nothing to prevent Highland Park from happening, despite what we see in hindsight to be grounds for such an order. The same has happened in numerous other places such as Colorado Springs.

Yet author Jim Swift is completely correct about the futility of banning both magazines and full-auto switches. The switches are already prohibited at the federal level and magazines are untraceable and don’t require a background check anywhere prior to purchase, to say nothing of both being able to be created via a 3D printer.

Like Swift, I understand the motivations in Illinois to pass this measure.

What I don’t understand, though, is how the mountains of evidence can be so easily dismissed, how even basic logic can be ignored, all to score anti-gun points with Illinois anti-gunners.

Then again, if you’re anti-gun, that’s part and parcel of what you do, isn’t it?


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