Director of Illinois gun group asserts that serializing ammo is ineffective at stopping gun violence
Illinois State Rep. Sonya Harper (D-Chicago) recently proposed a bill that would require that all handgun ammunition kept, sold or used in Illinois be serialized.
House Bill 6615 would also tax half a penny on each round of ammunition, and set up a state registry for ammunition and sales with the Illinois State Police. Any person who refused to serialize their ammunition will face Class A misdemeanor charges. Any person who possesses non-serialized ammunition faces Class C misdemeanor charges.
Richard F. Pearson, executive director of the Illinois State Rifle Association, has many problems with Harper’s bill, which, if passed, will take affect Jan 1, 2018. Citizens are being unreasonably taxed, he stated.
“The problem with that is that they want to tax all handgun ammo, but they are taxing law-abiding citizens,” Pearson told Chicago City Wire. “They say they are using it to help gunshot victims, but the fact is that law- abiding citizens aren’t doing (the shooting).”
Harper is unfairly targeting the wrong people, Pearson asserted. He believes law-abiding gun owners should not have to pay the taxes or for the bill. If Harper wants to tax someone, she should set her sights on gang members, Pearson insisted.
Another problem with the bill is its criminal susceptibility. Serializing ammunition won’t stop criminal activities and may even hinder police investigations, Pearson contended.
“The other problem, of course, is what good does it do to serialize ammunition?” he asked. “If I am a bad guy, I can’t buy ammunition in the state of Illinois anyway. I will steal ammunition from you…or from somebody that owns it. And when they get those serial numbers, they’ll be investigating the wrong people. It’s a perfect cover for criminals because it throws the police completely off of what they’re trying to do to solve a crime.”
Pearson said that used ammunition can be easily gathered from scrap dealers or gun ranges, and be used to confound a crime scene. Instead of punishing criminals, the bill may punish responsible law-abiding gun owners.
“It’s a constant hassle for them,” Pearson said. “People do not like to have every move that they make to be registered. No gang banger is going to do this. Not one.”
Tracking each and every round of ammunition would be near impossible because there are hundreds of millions of rounds of ammunition produced a year, Pearson said. It may be costly to the state, especially since residents have been taxed out of the state, he pointed out.
“It won’t be effective at all,” Pearson said. “It sounds good, but does bad like a lot of good sounding ideas. If you look into it, the unintended affects of it could be disastrous. It’s just a fallacious idea really.”
The city of Chicago has faced a shocking amount of gun violence with more than 3,500 shooting victims this year alone. Harper’s bill won’t solve the violence, Pearson insisted. Instead, the state should look at curbing gang violence, which begins with stopping the flow of drugs, he contended. Education should be the very first step.
“Chicago only graduates only 51 percent of its students (in high school),” Pearson said. “So 49 people out of 100 have no chance of finding legitimate work, or they can’t read or write properly. They don’t know how to do a job, so they turn to drugs.”
Chicago and its system, including its education and job training sectors, have failed the people it promised to help, Pearson stated.
“What has happened is the system made them a promise but the system knew that – before they started training people - that there was no place for them to go," Pearson said. "So they become embittered people. And they don’t really care what they do.”
Pearson concluded that there is no easy solution to the crime and violence that has infected the city.
“If you have no opportunities except crime, guess what you are going to do? Crime,” he said. “This is not an easy fix. I’m not claiming that this is an easy fix for anyone, but somebody has to do something.”
Organizations in this Story
PO Box 637 Chatsworth, IL 60921