Guest Column: Microchips for dogs, cats;and bills aimed at firearms

Guest Column: Microchips for dogs, cats;and bills aimed at firearms

By Kelly P. Champlin

Gun owners have been saying it for years: “Our rights are being taken away, piece by piece.” If you look at the pieces that have been taken away, and the large chunks that are currently being proposed by the House and Senate, you have no choice but to agree with what the gun owners have been saying. No one really complained about the identification tags given to dogs and cats when they had their shots taken care of. Why would anyone complain about microchips? After all, it’s just one more way for that loving pet owner to recover a lost or stolen animal! Why would anyone argue about that?

Let me clue you in on something. It started slowly with firearms, too. At first, it was fully automatic firearms, because they were “only used in crimes.” The next major step (seemed harmless to non-gun owners) was the Brady Bill, which “just” outlawed firearms that happened to look mean and wicked and nasty. It also stopped the manufacture of large-capacity magazines for rifles and pistols, where it happens to impact the competitive shooters, making a legal firearm more expensive to buy replacement magazines for. It also impacted the manufacturers, who could no longer produce the banned parts. Sounds harmless enough. Background checks, city registrations, all presented as common-sense steps to safeguard a community from guns. Still don’t see the connection? Keep reading.

And now, the state of Illinois wants to completely ban semi-automatic firearms and most shotguns and black powder firearms as well. Say goodbye to places like Gander Mountain, MC Sports, and The Bullet Stop. With these laws, we will no longer have the “right” to purchase the firearms that they sell, no need for the hunting and competition gear that they carry. Say goodbye to Armalite, Les Baer, and Rock River Arms, who manufacture firearms not only for civilians, but also for the U.S. military. And while you’re at it, say goodbye to the more than 500 rifle, pistol and shotgun clubs in Illinois and the money that they bring in to the local economies—if we can’t shoot, we don’t need these places, either. How many businesses around these clubs will be impacted, from hotels and restaurants to gas stations and stores?

If this sounds like extremism, you haven’t been paying attention. How long will it be before the state of Illinois decides that you can’t legally own a dog or cat that you purchased three years ago because it’s “too large”? How long before you can’t own a retriever because it might be used for sporting purposes? How long before you can’t own a dog or cat if it’s not purchased from a licensed breeder who has to own a kennel with more than one entrance to make it a legal kennel? Ask your neighbor, the gun owner, what it takes to legally buy a firearm. Think it won’t happen? Remember that next time you take your dog or cat to the vet to have the microchip information updated.

Kelly P. Champlin is president of the Pine Tree Pistol Club.

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