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Gun makers, local reps explain opposition to bill

By Stephen Elliott

GENESEO -- When one of Illinois' gun control bills finally broke through the Senate last week, it sent a collective chill up the spines of five local gun manufacturers and the 500 employees it could impact in the Illinois Quad-Cities area.

Last Wednesday, Illinois Senate Bill 1007, which bans making, selling, possessing, delivering or buying magazines that hold more than 10 bullets, passed 31-26. On Monday, local gun manufacturers, politicians, and representatives from the Illinois Quad City Chamber of Commerce held a press conference denouncing the Senate bill and jobs it could cost the area.

One of the messages sent out during the press conference at Springfield Armory in Geneseo was if Illinois gun manufacturers are limited by Illinois state laws, other states will make offers to move their businesses.

The problem is most of the area gun manufacturers here don't want to leave. Other gun control legislation has been proposed this year in Illinois but have not had the votes to get out of the Illinois Senate until SB1007.

'We are fighting for our survival,' said Springfield Armory co-owner Dennis Reese.

Along with his brother and co-owner Tom, the Reeses have a business with about 165 employees. It is Geneseo's third-largest employer behind Geneseo School District 228 and Hammond-Henry Hospital. Springfield Armory spokesman Bill Dermody said if SB1007 passes the House of Representatives and is signed by the governor, the company might move to another state.

'It would create a lot of soul searching for us,' Mr. Dermody said. 'We would have to make reduced capacity magazines for our guns to comply.

'It would put us at a significant competitive disadvantage with other gun manufacturers across the country.'

'How do you expand?' Dennis Reese asked. 'How do you make investments which is what we need to do frankly. We're constantly wondering when they're (gun control legislators) are going to come back at us again.

'They have no idea of the impact this is going to have.'

Tom Reese said the past few years have given his company little reason to be happy about Illinois' future.

'It does require a lot of time and effort,' Tom Reese said. 'It leaves a leaves a lot of people nervous â€"- our employees, bankers. It's very difficult to run a business.'

Illinois Sen. Todd Sieben, R-Geneseo, said the Senate bill does nothing to control crime.

'What it might do is make the streets of Geneseo a little bit emptier, it might make the streets of Hillsdale a little bit emptier, or in Milan,' Sen. Sieben said, referring to the existing gun makers shops closing down or moving. 'Or in the Quad-Cities, it might empty out the streets when these fine manufacturers take the economic incentives from Iowa and Missouri.'

Rep. Mike Boland, D- East Moline, and Pat Verschoore, D-Milan, agreed.

'I've said it several times,' Rep. Verschoore said. 'If Chicago has a problem, let Chicago take care of it, but leave the downstate people alone.'

'They are all high-cost type of weapons,' Rep. Boland said. 'These weapons are not the type brought in from a truck from South Carolina or someplace onto the streets of Chicago and sold off the back of that truck.'

Sen. Dan Kotowski, D-Park Ridge, the bill's sponsor, said last week that the bill would limit the damage done by criminals.

'Acknowledge the reality that there's only so much we can do,' Sen. Kotowski said. 'There's 300 million guns in the country. ...Criminals are going to get guns. Why not limit the damage that they can cause?'

Mark Westrom, president of ArmaLite, Inc., Geneseo, employs 85 people. Along with his wife, Judy, the two have an expansion project on hold because of SB1007 and other bills that have been attempted this year.

Karl Lewis, president of the 110-employee Lewis Machine and Tool Co., in Milan, said he has also put expansion plans on hold because of potential Illinois gun legislation.

Henry County Sheriff Gib Cady said after the press conference that the county is adopting a resolution opposing any legislation, 'that would infringe upon the right of the people to keep and bear arms and consider such laws to be unconstitutional and beyond lawful legislative authority!'

He said various gun bills proposed in Illinois this spring will not curb gun violence.

'This hurts the economy and the intelligence and common sense of the working citizen,' Sheriff Cady said of SB1007. 'All you have to do is look at the states that have gone to conceal and carry. The crime has gone down.'

Rock River Arms, Colona, has also said it would relocate if necessary. Les Baer Custom, Inc., Hillsdale, owner Les Baer was also present Monday. Mr. Baer is in the process of trying to move his business to LeClaire, Iowa. Two weeks ago, a Davenport Alderman said he spoke to Rock River Arms and Lewis Machine and Tool about moving to Davenport.

Geneseo Ald. Ed Deener, 1st Ward, said if Springfield Armory and ArmaLite move from Geneseo, 'it would devastate us. Housing values would go down. School revenues would take a dive. It would be just like dominoes in a negative way.

'It would have a ripple affect.'

http://qconline.com/archives/qco/display.php?id=338353
 

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I have been to that state a few times, good people overall. Stupid people representing them.

If this happens, it will hurt the people of that state in so many ways. If it does happen I wonder the effects.

Could it help the overall cause showing from an economic standpoint the effect has?

Could it hurt 2A rights and create more like it? Banning manuf. and all the other apsects of that crappy ass bill.

Not sure, but damn politicians and those who think they know whats right. These are the same poeple that probably have protection already or just think it wont happen to them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Sharky said:
I have been to that state a few times, good people overall. Stupid people representing them.
Exactly. It's the result of a state's political process being driven by and large by a single major urban area (Chicago). It's very similar to the New York/NYC example.
 

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Well Georgia is heading that way fast. There's Atlanta and then there's all of us po ingnant ******* folk down south.
 

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CoolHand said:
Well Georgia is heading that way fast. There's Atlanta and then there's all of us po ingnant ******* folk down south.
I don't know, Cool Hand. I think you would be shocked at the number of metro Atlanta legislators that support, for example, repealing the public gathering law. Have you had lunch with your rural legislator to discuss repealing O.C.G.A. 16-11-127? You might be surprised by his answer.
 

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I think it is the newspapers more than anything else that is our biggest opposition in Georgia.

They make a one person band seem like an army as long as the tune is gun control.
 

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Gunstar1 said:
I think it is the newspapers more than anything else that is our biggest opposition in Georgia.
The legislators do worry about what the AJC will say, even when it is untrue. What I mean is, they worry about untrue things the AJC will print, because perception guides public opinion more than facts.
 

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Malum Prohibitum said:
Gunstar1 said:
I think it is the newspapers more than anything else that is our biggest opposition in Georgia.
The legislators do worry about what the AJC will say, even when it is untrue. What I mean is, they worry about untrue things the AJC will print, because perception guides public opinion more than facts.
Right, the papers lie, readers get mis-informed and call/write their legislators demanding action, not against what the bill really says, but what the newspapers claimed the bill says.
 

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Have you had lunch with your rural legislator to discuss repealing O.C.G.A. 16-11-127? You might be surprised by his answer.
There's a republican party shindig this Friday, I'll ask em.
 
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