What would cause a woman, who has lived all but three years of her life in peaceful and safe environments, to join the NRA, complete their basic pistol course, and beginning shopping semi-automatic handguns?
Without even elaborating on the subject of Second Amendment rights, the increasing government incursion into our daily lives, and the government assuming a tyrannical posture not witnessed before in this author's lifetime, my submission of the Illinois "Firearm Owners Identification" (FOID) application removed all doubts that I took the right course of action for my personal safety, and that of hearth and home, now and especially for the future. While I understand that the Illinois State Police needs your affirmations in writing so they can background check you for any "gotchas" and thus deny your FOID card, if this application is any indication of our government's ability to keep firearms out of the hands of felons and the unstable, you can understand why we have Newtowns, Chicagos, and other yet to be determined crises.
In Illinois, our brilliant governor and state legislature recently passed a law allowing illegal aliens (oops! undocumented workers) to qualify for Illinois driver licenses. Therefore, the wisdom behind this application and some of its questions, is illustrative of life in Illinois. Excuse my naivete if apparent, but who would answer yes to these questions:
Q4. Are you addicted to narcotics?
Q5. Are you intellectually disabled?
Q10. Are you an alien who is unlawfully present in the United States?
The IL State Police contracts with third parties to do criminal background checks, with lying on your application making you subject to a felony 2 conviction. However, unless you have an arrest record, have been institutionalized, or there's a trail that can be found through databases available to law enforcement or their investigator sub-contractors, etc., I daresay, you'd stand a pretty good chance of approval for a FOID card. As Paul Appelbaum, the director of the Division of Law, Ethics and Psychiatry at Columbia University's department of psychiatry, summarizes about states and their collective efforts to keep guns our of the hands of people most likely to commit violent acts:
"What we've been pursuing here has been not just a failed strategy, but a strategy that is unlikely ever to be implemented successfully. We're both sweeping up lots of people about whom we probably shouldn't be worried and omitting many people about whom we should."
Oh, and by the way, the January 2013 death toll is up to 42 in Chicago and we still have another day before the month ends, worst January in 10 years.
Three weeks ago I was at a regional sporting goods store, and people were three deep, take a number, at the gun counter. I was one of two women handling guns in that male bastion, with the other woman purchasing a rifle. The amount of knowledge and experience about firearms that was present in that crowd, and advice as to which one to buy, was, for this first time owner, quite astounding. Whether target shooting aficionados, hunters, or people simply looking for self/home protection, one could feel a sense of unease at that counter, and a realization as more people are waking up to the power of an over-reaching government, and some of its officials who adhere to the rule of ideology rather than the rule of law.
One of my dear friends suggested to me that I might have a "bunker mentality." "What do you need a gun for?" she asked. I've never needed a firearm before, true. But then Americans don't need 207+ religious denominations, yet we have them because it is our Right to have them. Therefore, consider my firearm a symbol of my Right to have it. And since practice makes perfect, should I have to use it, pray God it doesn't ever come to that, this Annie Oakley will be ready.