.

In Today's Chicago Sun Times

RoadkillRoadkill Member Posts: 509 ✭✭✭
The Illinois State Police have collected computerized records of 2.15 million firearms transactions since 1992, when the state launched instant background checks of gun buyers.

Now, Gov. Blagojevich is trying to fend off federal efforts to scrap this statewide database of gun purchases that he believes is key to the fight against terrorism and street crime -- but which the gun lobby calls an infringement of buyers' constitutional rights.

Blagojevich is concerned about a law Congress passed in January requiring the FBI to destroy records of instant background checks within 24 hours. The U.S. Justice Department has warned Illinois it must comply with the law -- which would mean getting rid of the state's gun-purchase database.

On Wednesday, Blagojevich sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft urging him to repeal the 24-hour limit.

"Only criminals stand to gain from the destruction of firearm transaction data," he wrote.

The National Rifle Association and other groups believe the Illinois database violates the Second Amendment right to bear arms and the right to privacy.

"Obviously, our lawmakers in Washington believe records of law-abiding gun owners should not be kept beyond 24 hours," said NRA spokeswoman Kelly Hobbs. "Gov. Blagojevich has been open in his opposition to the rights of law-abiding gun owners."

The governor's move comes as he has been getting flak from both sides of the gun-control issue. Last week, Blagojevich said he would support lowering the age for getting a firearm owner's identification card without parental consent -- but only if the state bans assault weapons.

Illinois requires residents to obtain a FOID card before they may buy or possess a firearm. There is a 24-hour waiting period to buy rifles and a 72-hour wait for handguns.

In 1992, Illinois required dealers to call a State Police hotline before a buyer could take possession of a gun. The hotline was designed to weed out violent criminals and the mentally ill by combing the computer files of local, state and federal law enforcement agencies and state mental health records.

In 1998, the nationwide National Instant Check System was launched. Illinois is one of 24 states that perform the checks and feed the information to NICS. The FBI does checks for the other 26 states.

Since 1998, the FBI was required to destroy records of background checks within 90 days, but in January, Congress tightened that window to 24 hours.

Illinois was never told it needed to comply with the 90-day record retention limit, said Abby Ottenhoff, a spokeswoman for the governor. But when Congress passed the 24-hour limit, the feds told Illinois it must destroy the records just as the FBI does, Ottenhoff said.

Richard Pearson, head of the Illinois State Rifle Association, said Illinois should have been destroying those records since 1998. "They are trying to legitimize something they should not have been doing," he said.

Ottenhoff said the database is essential for law enforcement to investigate gun trafficking.

The database includes the date and time of the transaction, whether the buyer was approved or denied, what databases returned information regarding a criminal record, the gun dealers' federal license number, and the purchaser's FOID card number.

The State Police can match the database with a separate FOID card database to learn how many times an individual has purchased a gun and where the firearms were bought. Then investigators can go to the gun dealer to determine the make and model of the guns and their serial numbers.

Only the State Police have direct access to the database, but federal, state and local agencies are given information about specific cases, Ottenhoff said.

One example of the system at work is Tommy Porter, who in January 2000 was linked to a gun used in a crime. The State Police searched the gun purchase database and discovered 15 transactions over seven years.

Investigators went to gun dealers and learned Porter had bought a total of 20 guns. He admitted he was recruited by the Gangster Disciples street gang to buy guns and was paid $50 for each firearm. He was convicted of several federal firearms offenses.

In a move to keep such information available to law enforcement agencies, the governor's office has drafted legislation to allow the state to keep gun purchase records for 10 years, Ottenhoff said. Any record older than 10 years would be destroyed.

Pearson said his group already is lobbying legislators to vote against any bill protecting such records.

Comments

  • RoadkillRoadkill Member Posts: 509 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    AND IN THE APRIL 9 ISSUE...........

    Illinois is not alone among states worrying that a federal clampdown on their use of gun-buyer records could thwart cops from catching criminals.

    On Wednesday, Gov. Blagojevich sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft expressing concerns over a federal law that could force Illinois to destroy a database containing 2.15 million records of gun transactions. Authorities use the information to investigate gun trafficking and other crimes.

    Last month, California Attorney General Bill Lockyer wrote Ashcroft criticizing the Justice Department for ordering the state to stop using the National Instant Criminal Background Checks System to identify people barred from owning guns.

    "We find this restriction to be contrary to public and officer safety," Lockyer wrote.

    State officials in Illinois and California say Ashcroft -- an ardent believer in the Second Amendment right to bear arms -- has been overzealous in his efforts to protect the privacy of gun buyers.

    But Justice Department spokeswoman Monica Goodling said Ashcroft is simply enforcing federal law "consistently and vigorously."

    Illinois, California and 22 other states process background checks and feed the information into NICS. The FBI does the checks for the other 26 states.

    Since the NICS system was launched in 1998, the FBI has been required under the Brady Act to destroy the records within 90 days. In January, Congress narrowed that window to 24 hours.

    The Justice Department has warned states they cannot keep long-term databases of gun-buyer records unless they pass state legislation to do so.

    California, Oregon, Michigan, Maryland, Connecticut and Wisconsin have approved laws allowing them to hold on to the records, said Abby Ottenhoff, a Blagojevich spokeswoman. Illinois does not have such a law, but Blagojevich will seek legislation to keep the data for 10 years, she said.

    The federal government ordered Illinois in September to destroy old records or risk a loss of federal funds for background checks, Ottenhoff said. The warning came after an audit of the state system, she said.

    In California's disputed program, the state uses the NICS system to conduct follow-up investigations of felons, mentally ill people and others blocked from buying a gun during a background check.

    California authorities check the state's gun-buyer database to see if the prohibited person previously bought a weapon legally. If so, the state tries to seize the gun.

    California also uses the records to see if police should return a weapon confiscated from an arrested person.

    The Justice Department is refusing to participate in any investigations stemming from a search of NICS information, said Hallye Jordan, a spokeswoman for Lockyer.

    "We believe the Brady Act does allow us to use NICS to enforce these laws," Jordan said.
  • Salvage33Salvage33 Member Posts: 1,182 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    What did you expect from a state that already violates your 2nd Amendment rights by requiring you to get a Firearms Owner ID card?

    Another example of some form of government thinking they know more than you know!

    John

    A friend will post your bail. A good friend will be sitting next to you in the cell saying, "man that was fun!"
  • ArmaliteA4ArmaliteA4 Member Posts: 489 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    I would agree completely with salvage...

    Also, I would have to ask 2 questions:
    1. Does it bother you enough to move to a much less restrictive state?

    2. You do realize jobs,opportunities, and the world in general go on outside your home state?

    People always use a job as the biggest reason to stay in a commie state. If/when Indiana starts that crap, I will move,period.[:(!]
  • Salvage33Salvage33 Member Posts: 1,182 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Armalite

    Good questions, but you do have three options; 1) move and leave it to the gun grabber/liberal weenies, 2) stay and do nothing and endure it, or 3) stay and fight the b****rds and hope that others will join you in the fight, and that, eventually, you will prevail.

    Fortunately, I live in a gun friendly state. Well, at least so far.

    John


    A friend will post your bail. A good friend will be sitting next to you in the cell saying, "man that was fun!"
  • tr foxtr fox Member Posts: 13,856
    edited November -1
    if the world is going on catch on fire, and instead of us fighting to put out the fire we just run to the safe areas, pretty soon there will be no "safe" areas.

    Quote "Somehow government decided that the Constitutional Bill of Rights has become the Bill of "Suggested" Rights and are to be rationed to the citizens as the power elite sees fit"
  • Salvage33Salvage33 Member Posts: 1,182 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Amen brother fox

    John

    A friend will post your bail. A good friend will be sitting next to you in the cell saying, "man that was fun!"
  • RoadkillRoadkill Member Posts: 509 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    quote:1. Does it bother you enough to move to a much less restrictive state?

    Hell no! I want and am, fighting these meanies! How funny! I didn't type "meanies"........the "system" changed my word for theirs! Talk about big brother![:D]

    quote:2. You do realize jobs,opportunities, and the world in general go on outside your home state?

    I do realize that, but I can't relocate my entire family, friends, house etc. I have everyone I know apply for FOID cards. It shows the meanies how big of a voice there is in IL. I have paid the fees for some of their cards myself. Although the FOID card is BS, it proves to the lawmakers that we are large in number and have a strong voice! HA! It did it again![:p] It let ArmaliteA4 keep "crap", but doesn't like "basterd"......misspelled on purpose!
  • ArmaliteA4ArmaliteA4 Member Posts: 489 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Its funny how people try to convince themselves through selective reasoning that all wil be ok as long as we "fight the good fight"

    Gentlemen, we CAN fight and are, but I will be dammed if I ever have to live in a state where I cannot protect my family or home legally.

    That is the good thing about having sooo many choices living in the good old usa.
    Besides, we will lose in the end I am sad to say.The big money and mass media will overwelm us everytime and the sheep in this country will believe them over us.This is a pretty objective statement, and although I will continue to do my part I think deep down alot of people see the writing on the wall.They will win eventually.
    And I reiterate, I will NOT live in a friggin' commie state because i am too afraid to move. I will not pay state taxes to help along their agenda. That is a small part of actually living in a free country. People talk big about fighting....hell.. they just play the game daily by staying put in these areas, therefore subjigating themselves to the powers that be. They may not want to admit it, but it is very true and simple.[V][V][V][V]

    You may take the most gallant sailor,the most intrepid airman,or the most audacious soldier,put them together at a table.
    What do you get?
    The sum of their fears
    -Winston Churchhill
  • tr foxtr fox Member Posts: 13,856
    edited November -1
    What ArmaliteA4 posted is almost totally true. Although I will admit that in some cases moving from a restrictive state would cause a changing of jobs and in my case financial disaster.

    And we have few ways to fight the powers that ArmaliteA4 mentioned along with the ones he didn't mention. But if we work smarter instead of harder there could be hope. I mean for God's sake, all of us here have an interest and hobby that should have a LOT of NATURAL DRAW to new people. Guns are interesting mechanical devices with a long and colorful history behind them and make for profitial and intersting collectables. Once a new gun person becomes familiar with using guns they can possibly provide their own self-protection for themselves and family when the police are not available. There are several different type of shooting sports using guns and different types of competetion where shooters can compare their ability to others. There are gun clubs where one can relax and socialize with other interesting people with similar interezts.

    What I am trying to say is that if gun owners would ALL get out there and try to recruit and train new guns owners into this fun sport we have to offer, we would wind up with with millions of new gun enthusiasts. And if the great majority of Americans became gun enthusiasts we would have no more problems with attempts at passing unreasonable gun laws. JMHO

    BTW, I practice what I preach and am presently working on several such projects. If anyone wants any specific suggests that they might use, just ask.

    Quote "Somehow government decided that the Constitutional Bill of Rights has become the Bill of "Suggested" Rights and are to be rationed to the citizens as the power elite sees fit"
  • RoadkillRoadkill Member Posts: 509 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Cook County State's Attorney Richard A. Devine joined participants from the upcoming Million Mom March on Friday to call for a renewal of the federal assault weapons ban, which is due to expire this fall.

    The ban, which was passed in 1994, has a sunset provision that takes effect Sept. 13. The National Rifle Association opposes an extension of the ban.

    Devine said guns banned under the act include those with flash suppressors, bayonet mounts, extra capacity magazines and pistol grips that allow them to be fired rapidly from the hip. Some have folding stocks useful for close-quarter confrontations and threaded barrels for use with silencers.

    Such guns aren't useful for hunting or home protection, but rather are the weapon of choice of gang-bangers and drug pushers, Devine said.

    ''They are clearly used to go after people and not go after game,'' he said.

    Roughly 20 percent of police officer deaths nationally from 1998 to 2001 were from assault weapons, said Adrienne Archia of the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence. Archia added that a statewide poll found about 70 percent of Illinoisans support a ban on assault weapons.

    Also at the news conference was Tom Vanden Berk, a board member for the Illinois Brady Campaign, whose son, Tom, an honor student at Evanston Township High School, was killed in 1992 when he got caught in gang crossfire at a party.

    Vanden Berk, who pushed for the original ban and attended the first Million Mom March in 2000, said he fears police will be "outgunned" by criminals if the ban expires.

    "We have seen progress. We cannot go backward," Vanden Berk said.

    On its Web site, the NRA claims the ban prevents semiautomatic firearms "used by millions of Americans for hunting, self-defense, recreational target-shooting and in formal marksmanship competitions."

    The NRA also is backing legislation that would grant gun makers immunity from lawsuits.

    Devine said the ban has widespread support among police organizations, who must deal with the effects of gun violence.

    Despite proponents' displeasure with the original ban's provision to grandfather in assault weapons that were legally owned at the time, keeping the ban in place will continue to get the guns off the street, Devine said.

    "Our belief is that they are getting fewer and fewer as time goes on," he said. "That is all the more reason for the ban to go on. For heaven's sake, let's not put more of these things out on the street."

    The next Million Mom March is planned for Mother's Day, May 9, in Washington.
  • OklahomaboundOklahomabound Member Posts: 829 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Salvage is right on, on this one....[8D]

    976371019-1.jpg "Know the true value of time; snatch, seize, and enjoy every moment of it." Lord Chesterfield
Sign In or Register to comment.