FELONY STUPID? 5,800 Illinois Gun Owners Register Now-Illegal Self-Defense Guns, Accessories In Clear Violation of the Law

Illinois State Police. (Courtesy ISP)


Passed in the dead of night, the “Protect Illinois Communities Act” banned many popular self-defense firearms. Governor (and presidential hopeful) Governor J.B. Pritzker promptly signed the bill into law mere hours later. Under PICA, existing owners of the newly-banned guns had until January 1, 2024 to register them with the Illinois State Police. While some did register their guns, 99% registered nothing.

Failure to registered two or more of the banned firearms stands as a felony offense. Yet even with a potential felony hanging over their heads, 99% of Illinois gun owners said “no thanks” and let the January 1 deadline pass.

Seeing the miserably low compliance numbers, Pritzker’s ISP kept the registry open. They also started circulating news stories claiming they had no intention of prosecuting offenders. Like this announcement from Effingham Radio . . .

The Illinois State Police won’t pursue charges against Illinois residents who didn’t register their weapons that fall under the new law by the January 1st deadline.

The ISP says the FOID Portal will remain open and people can submit endorsement affidavits at any time. Residents who fail to register weapons that fall under the law could face felony charges. More than 29-thousand residents have registered their assault weapons.

Incredibly, 5,865 gun owners in the state (and two from out of the state) took the bait and registered firearms with ISP after the first of the year. Each of the in-state registrants have admitted to criminal violations of Illinois law.

In fact, those with two or more banned guns or accessories have now admitted to felonies. And they’ve generously provided details of their specific banned items including make, model, and serial number along with their addresses. It sounds like a case of felony stupidity.

Sure, the ISP sent out those press releases promising not to “pursue charges” against non-compliant individuals. Technically, the press releases were correct. However, the the ISP doesn’t pursue charges, prosecutors do. The State Police merely make arrests.

Furthermore, while there are laws on the books in Illinois that criminalize false statements made to police, there are no statutes that criminalize false statements made by police to the public at large or to individual citizens. In other words, the police can lie without consequence.  That includes telling the public that they “won’t pursue charges” for missing the registration deadline. As a long-time resident myself, I cannot ever recall the ISP saying they would overlook felony violations of firearm laws in our state before now.

The people who registered their illegally-held firearms have made themselves ultra-low-hanging fruit when it comes to confiscating guns and making arrests of those who failed to comply with Pritzker’s precious PICA gun ban. I hope they have deep pockets and good criminal defense attorneys on call because the day is coming when — not if — Governor Pritzker decides he wants to start making some examples of non-compliant gun owners.

Attorney William Kirk from Washington Gun Law agrees.

The bottom line? More than 5,800 gullible folks have painted big, glowing targets on their backs. They’ll soon find out what follows gun registration isn’t an “attaboy” from rabid gun haters like J.B. Pritzker, it’s confiscation and arrest.

Pritzker and the Illinois State Police are likely to move on that confiscation process long before the lawsuits challenging the act are resolved at the US Supreme Court.


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