Our government: Locally owned, internationally run
By Laurie Eich
Our government: Locally owned,
The aftermath of the shooting at the Wal-Mart store in Rockford, Ill., on Tuesday, May 22, has the anti-gun/anti-right activists shouting even louder, demanding more gun laws.
More laws? No, what IS needed are stricter, harsher penalties and sought-after prosecution for the laws that already exist on the books, not just here, but nationwide.
Why should the law-abiding citizen pay for what OUR lawmakers fail to do? Why should we, the law-abiding citizens, give up our Second Amendment right to own a firearm because the men and women who sit behind the bench fail to prosecute the armed criminal?
It has been proven over and over again with facts that more lives are saved every year BECAUSE of the people who believe and practice the right to keep and bear arms. We should not be punished for the lack of prosecution of criminals and their illegal use and possession of a firearm! Need an example?
Lets take a closer look at how easy the criminal gets off while the law-abiding citizen does not. This is just one of many stories that go untold.
On August 20, 2000, while working as an armed night watchman, on private property, Mark S. Hollis, a 36-year-old ex-police officer, with NO criminal record, was arrested, booked and charged with unlawful use of a weapon. He carried a legal FOID (Firearm Owners Identification) card, which was revoked within two days of his arrest. Rather quick, dont you think? All items in his possession were seized; now remember, this is on private property.
His vehicle is searched without permission and then seized and towed OFF private property. Of all the items seized, none were returned except for his truck, and then on that, Sheriff Dick Meyers personally lowered the impound fee. Why? Perhaps because he knew what was being done was wrong, but he was following orders, just as the deputies were when they arrested him. This man, an ex-police officer, a fact which the deputies knew, was taken at gunpoint, with no resistance whatsoever, handcuffed and put in the deputies car, and then driven to Winnebago County Jail, where he was booked and treated like a common criminal. His bond was set at $25,000. Yes, you read that right. Rather excessive for not having a record of any kind. What makes this stand out, you ask?
On October 8, 2000, on the front page of the Rockford Register Star, a small article appeared. This, too, was a weapon-related article. The difference? The man arrested on the weapons charge was a convicted felon, and in the possession of a loaded weapon, which we know to be illegal, and in the hands of a felon, it is a felony in itself. He, too, was taken to Winnebago County Jail, where he was released on a $350 bond.
So whats wrong with this picture? A convicted felon, committing yet another felony, surely needs to be let back onto our streets for a bail bond of $350, and an ex-police officer, of which the deputies knew, and with NO prior offenses, was booked and treated like a common criminal, and his bond was set at $25,000! After a public outcry on WNTA radio, Mr. Hollis bond was reduced to $2500 after sitting in lockup until 13:00 hours on the 21st. As of this writing, Mr. Hollis is still awaiting trial, as well as for his things to be returned.
The Winnebago County Sheriffs Department has proven, not just my point, but also that of the NRA (National Rifle Association) as well as every other law-abiding citizen whos paid attention to whats going on. Convicted felons, criminals, are NOT prosecuted to the full extent of the existing laws; yet law-abiding citizens are arrested, charged and treated by the courts as though they are potentially the next mass killer of the innocent.
IF the laws that already exist were enforced to their fullest extent, wouldnt this begin to put a dent in the criminal getting hold of an illegal firearm? Of course, it would! Then they, the criminals, would have something to fear. What do they have to fear now? A slap on the wrist and a judge saying: No, no. You mustnt play with guns. Prosecution of these criminals would give the criminal element something to fear, and the law-abiding citizen a break from the anti-gun/anti-right activists lies and fake figures.
The question to ask our elected officials, both here locally and nationwide, is, Why arent the existing laws being enforced? This question is one our officials seem to avoid. Well, I think, as well as over 4 million other law-abiding gun owners, its time our elected government start answering this question, dont you? WE put them in there; now its time to let them know! Write to them, e-mail them, phone them, and demand an answer; otherwise, our rights will and have begun to disappear more and more. Take heed, people; they, our elected officials are patting themselves on the back for another election well run. It is WE, THE PEOPLE, not WE, the Government.
Laurie Eich is a resident of Davis Junction.