Caulkins: Safety Begins by Repealing the SAFE-T Act, Not Enacting More Gun Laws

In the wake of the mass murder in Highland Park earlier this month, Governor JB Pritzker directed the Illinois State Police to implement emergency rules broadening the definition of “clear and present danger” reports. Those reports can bar persons from possessing guns by prohibiting the issuance of, or revocation of, a Firearm Owners Identification (FOID) card. The new emergency rules also clarify ISP’s authority to use and retain such reports as allowed by state and federal law. An emergency rule goes into effect within 10 days of filing but is limited in effectiveness to no more than 150 days.

According to a Fox News article, National Police Association spokesperson Betsy Brantner Smith said the Highland Park shooter should not have been able to legally purchase firearms under existing law. Others have noted that the Highland Park shooter was a known drug user, which under both federal and state law would have disallowed the purchase and possession of weapons.

State Representative Dan Caulkins (R-Decatur) responded to the new emergency rule with the following statement:

“Our Governor has no respect for the legislative branch of government or our constitutional rights. Just like his COVID orders, the Governor now believes he can rewrite other laws without any input from lawmakers. If he wants to discuss tightening rules regarding who can own guns in Illinois, then he needs to negotiate that with legislators. Illinois already has very strict gun laws in place, and those laws were written with specific language and specific intent so that rogue bureaucrats could not overly restrict Second Amendment rights without due process.

“Meanwhile, the Governor ignores the violent crime that is an everyday occurrence in the state. We must enforce the laws we already have on the books and repeal the SAFE-T Act passed in the dark of the night. Failure to do so will ensure that on January 1, 2023, hundreds of violent criminals will be let out of jail, and Cook County prosecution will be the norm in the rest of the state.

“Additionally, the new gun ban legislation filed on Monday is not the solution to mass murders or crime in the streets. Highland Park had a gun ban in place. It failed. The murderers in Chicago don’t own guns legally now, and more gun bans won’t matter to them.

“If JB Pritzker is serious about keeping people safe, his first step should be to stop his out of state Democratic fundraising trips, stay home, enforce the laws we currently have and repeal the SAFE-T Act immediately.”