Bill shielding identities of gun owners heads to Gov. Pat Quinn’s desk
BY STEPHEN DI BENEDETTO Staff Reporter/ firstname.lastname@example.org May 20, 2011 2:40PM
llinois lawmakers debate state legislation while on the House floor at the Illinois State Capitol in Springfield, Ill., File Photo. (AP Photo/Seth Perlman)
Updated: June 22, 2011 7:29PM
SPRINGFIELD — Gun owners’ identities would remain shielded from public disclosure under legislation the Senate overwhelmingly approved Friday and that Gov. Quinn signaled he would support.
The 42-1 vote for a bill now headed to the governor’s desk represents a victory for gun-rights lobbyists who sought to keep the owners’ names private after Attorney General Lisa Madigan contended that lists of those with Firearm Owner Identification cards should be made public under the state’s open-records law.
Sen. Kirk Dillard (R-Hinsdale), the bill’s chief Senate sponsor, argued the U.S. Constitution clearly supports gun owners’ rights to keep their names protected from public inspection and said that the public’s safety is at stake.
“These names clearly have a constitutional right to be made private or kept private,” Dillard said. “From a law-enforcement standpoint, I don’t believe we should give burglars a map to systematically burglarize our neighborhoods and our farms.”
But the lone “no” voter, Sen. Jeffrey Schoenberg (D-Evanston), said his vote was meant as a protest against gun lobbyists.
In April, state Sen. Ira Silverstein (D-Chicago) called out the pro-gun group, Guns Save Life, for publishing an article in its organization’s newsletter comparing the treatment of the more than 6 million Holocaust victims to Illinois gun owners.
Schoenberg, who had family members die during the Holocaust, said the fact that the gun group did not retract the published comparison was “deeply offensive.”
“My ‘no’ vote was primarily to send a strong message of protest against the gun lobby’s totally inadequate response to distorting the tragedies of one of modern history’s worst atrocities to advance a political agenda.”
Two voted present: Sen. Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) and Sen. Jacqueline Collins (D-Chicago). Silverstein was not on hand for Friday’s Senate vote.
The House passed the bill in April with a 98-12 vote. It now heads to Quinn, who could either sign or veto it, though he signaled his support for the bill during a Friday press conference in Chicago.
“We had the position with State Police that that was information that was confidential and should not be shared,” Quinn said. “I agreed with the State Police’s position, and we’ll see what the bill says.”