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Escape from foidistan: in this country, inalienable rights shouldn't require a hall pass.

FIREARMS OWNER IDENTIFICATION CARD--A CHARMING LITTLE BIT OF Orwellian totalitarianism inflicted on the good people of Illinois by a state government so corrupt that T-shirts and bumper stickers proclaim, "Illinois, where our governors make our license plates."

The last politician who thought Illinois was a democracy was shot in Ford's Theater. The great state of Illinois is actually a huge support system for Chicago's massive welfare state, and that means when Chicago can't control its population, draconian measures are inflicted on the hard-working folks in the well-run cities and towns to the south and west.

When InterMedia Outdoors moved the offices of Guns & Ammo from Los Angeles, California, to Peoria, Illinois, we all received a detailed letter explaining that there was no grace period on owning firearms while waiting for the state officials in Springfield to get around to issuing our FOID cards.

Imagine moving to a state and they tell you, "I'm sorry, Mr. Horowitz, but you can't go to temple until we get you permission to attend religious services." Or, "Mr. Smith, you can't write a letter to the editor complaining about the state policies until you get your card."

This would be outrageous, yet the solid, patriotic citizens of Illinois tolerate this blatant infringement of their civil rights with the same weary acceptance that their ancestors yielded to feudal lords.

One suspects that the NRA is waiting for a spotlessly clean candidate to be the FOID card's Rosa Parks.

The letter you get when your card finally arrives is signed by a senior state trooper. I have no doubts that he is an honorable man. But how does he shave or look at the flag while being the instrument that violates our Constitution? How can the honest citizens who work for the state of Illinois go to their jobs every day knowing they are violating the Bill of Rights?


The rationale seems to be "The state is looking out for everyone's safety." But South Peoria has a higher percentage casualty count than South Chicago, and the first thing prosecutors throw out in all plea bargains is the weapons violation.

The only people impacted by the FOID restrictions are law-abiding citizens. Gang members and hoodlums are not concerned with securing a FOID card.

I hate to fly this flag, but might this be a case of blatant racism? Can a disadvantaged minority mother afford the time and money necessary to gain a FOID card before buying a firearm to protect her home and family? Are Chicago's politicians just trying to disarm poorer Americans? Is this class warfare at its basest?

What is to be done? It appears that most citizens of Illinois have decided to just give in, that it's not worth the effort to stick their necks out. After all, civil disobedience comes at a severe cost when you're talking about fines and/or arrest.

As for me, as with most cowards, I voted with my feet. A few days after moving back to Kingman, Arizona, I was noshing at a local breakfast buffet. A few tables away a young man was wearing a worn N-frame Smith on his hip.

I knew then I'd made the right move.


* The. 220 Swift is a far more successful cartridge than its parent, the 6mm Lee-Navy.

* IJK optics used to be called Eagle Eye, but the company lost a trademark dispute with a sunglasses firm.

* The Tokarev TT pistol is actually just a simplified 1911.

* The Gunsite Academy's symbol is a raven.

* The rear trigger always fires the left barrel on a side-by-side.

* To comment on this essay or suggest a subject for a future one, please contact the author directly at
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Author:Venola, Richard
Publication:Guns & Ammo
Geographic Code:1U3IL
Date:Feb 12, 2011
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