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MCSC Board Takes Stand on Proposed Gun Control Legislation
2-20-13 - John Morgan

The Menard County Sportsman's Club Board of Directors recently sent a letter to our state and federal leaders to let them know our club's stance on the gun control laws being proposed both here in Illinois and ,at the national level, in Washington DC. Each letter was individually addressed to a specific lawmaker and was signed by each of our club officers and board members. The letter was send to the following lawmakers:
  • President Barack Obama
  • Vice President Joseph Biden
  • Senator Mark Kirk
  • Senator Richard Durbin
  • Congressman Aaron Schock
  • Governor Pat Quinn
  • Lt. Governor Sheila Simon
  • Senator Bill Brady
  • Representative Rich Brauer
  • Attorney General Lisa Madigan
Below is the full text of the letter.

We the board of directors of the Menard County Sportsman’s Club, represent a group of over 130 law abiding gun owners, hunters, and sportsman. Our club is dedicated to preserving the activities of hunting, fishing, and trapshooting in central Illinois. Each year, we host competitive trap shooting events, help replenish the local wildlife population by releasing quail in our area, and teach firearm safety and responsible firearm use through our youth trapshooting program. Our members and their families are your constituents.

We are deeply moved and saddened by the recent tragic events at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT. However, we feel that the currently proposed gun control legislation falls short of addressing the underlying cause of this and other recent tragedies.

Rather than establishing additional gun control laws, we should better enforce the laws that we currently have on the books. Illinois is one of only seven states that require background checks before an individual can purchase a firearm at a gun show. Laws like this need to be adopted nationwide. Straw purchasing (the purchase of firearms for resale to individuals who cannot legally own firearms) is a serious crime. The penalties for such offences need to be strengthened and rigorously enforced.

Experts in the field of firearm manufacture need to be engaged to help classify firearms more accurately. It seems that gun control legislation is being written by people who, while well intentioned, are not familiar with firearms or the safe and responsible use of firearms. This leads to public misconceptions about purpose and use of certain types of firearms. The term “assault weapon” must be better defined. Assault weapons are fully automatic weapons used by military and law enforcement personnel. Semi-automatic rifles and shotguns, such as AR-15s and Franchi Law-12s are not assault weapons. These are not singular use firearms. They are commonly used here in central Illinois, and many other rural parts of the country, for the control of predatory animals and for home defense. They are well suited as personal defense weapons when confronted by multiple assailants or in cases of social breakdown, as demonstrated in the aftermath of hurricane Katrina. In the vast majority of our country, law enforcement help (911) is not measured in seconds or minutes, but in quarter hours, half hours, or even hours. In these cases, home defense weapons like semi-automatic handguns, rifles, and shotguns can mean the difference between life and death.

More energy must be focused on providing care for the mentally ill. We need better clarification of the term “mentally defective” as defined in federal firearm regulations to help keep firearms out of the hands of the mentally unstable. Several of the most recent public shootings (Columbine, Virginia Tech, Newtown, Aurora, Tucson, and the tragedy at Northern Illinois University when Steven Kazmierczak murdered five people and left twenty one others wounded before turning the gun on himself) could have potentially been prevented by better access to mental health services and treatment.

Creating additional guns control laws will not stop criminals. Gun control laws serve only to further restrict legal gun owners. Criminals will continue to obtain firearms by illegal methods. Our country needs to concentrate more on keeping firearms out of the hands of criminals and the mentally unstable. As an organization, we want to help ensure the safety of our loved ones and neighbors. We ask that our law makers explore a multidirectional approach to solving gun violence issues rather than further eroding our rights with a reduction of the types of firearms that law abiding citizens are allowed to own.

The Board is currently working toward sending this letter to every member of the Illinois General Assembly. If you would like to contact our state and federal representatives personally, here are their mailing addresses:
President Barack Obama and Vice President Joseph Biden
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
Washington D.C. 20500

Senator Mark Kirk
607 East Adams
Suite 1520
Springfield, IL 62701
Senator Richard Durbin
525 South 8th St.
Springfield, IL 62703

Congressman Aaron Schock
235 South 6th St.
Springfield, IL 62703

Governor Pat Quinn
Office of the Governor
207 State House
Springfield, IL 62706
Lt. Governor Sheila Simon
Office of the Lt. Governor
214 State House
Springfield, IL 62706
Attorney General Lisa Madigan
500 South 2nd St.
Springfield, IL 62706

Senator Bill Brady
105A State House
Springfield, IL 62706

Representative Rich Brauer
1128-E Stratton Building
Springfield, IL 62706

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