South Central Reporter

South Central Reporter

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Rep. Wilhour says focusing on gun legislation after mass shootings is wrong direction to look in


By Glenn Minnis | Aug 16, 2019

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Rep. Blaine Wilhour

Illinois state Rep. Blaine Wilhour (R-Effingham) thinks too many local lawmakers are focusing on all the wrong things in the wake of a pair of recent mass shootings across the country where at least 31 people died.

“We’ll have the same knee-jerk reaction we have every time a terrible tragedy like this happens,” Wilhour told the South Central Reporter. “Going after law abiding gun owners won’t fix the problem. We need to deal with real issues like mental health, culture issues where we’re desensitizing our young people to violence with video games and everything else. We’ve broken up the family, everything people should be able to grasp to we’ve broken up.”

Wilhour said he fully expects the tragedy to reignite the push from anti-gun legislators in Illinois to finally get Senate Bill 1966 on the books. The law would raise the cost of a Firearm Owner Identification (FOID) card, require gun owners to submit to fingerprinting before obtaining a FOID card at a maximum service cost of $30 and increase card renewal costs previously passed in the House before stalling in the Senate without getting a vote.

“I anticipate that it will probably get a hearing now,” he said. “The reality is that in every one of these mass shooting instances people broke existing laws. What will making new laws do for public safety? It’s not going to save any lives. I know at end of day the answer is not to take constitutional rights away from lawful gun owners.”

Finally, Wilhour argues that many have long legally owned guns, begging the question of what has changed from then and now to account for all the increased violence.

“We don’t have any more guns on streets now than back then,” he said. “So, you have to ask yourself what has changed. People aren’t looking at that. Everyone’s only focused on taking away guns, which is both unrealistic and unconstitutional."

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Illinois State Representative Blaine Wilhour

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