A series of bills introduced by legislators in Springfield may have a serious impact on our area. House Bills 1294, 1599 and 1855 are all aimed at banning a wide variety of firearms. Several gun manufacturers located around the QCA are now feeling the heat. Armalite Incorporated in Geneseo likes to boast they make the finest firearms in the world. But legislators in their home state may end up driving them out of business.
“3 very very harsh bills that basically would block everything we manufacture. If passed these laws would force us to leave the state,” says Armalite owner Mark Westrom.
Some Chicago area legislators want to ban all semi-automatic firearms, as well as 50 caliber rifles, and if they get their way Armalite will almost certainly close up shop.
Some people say a gun as large at Armalite’s AR-50 bolt action rifle should be banned, but gun advocates say that’s just the beginning of an attack on your constitutional rights.
“When legislators are tackling what they see as problem they start chipping away around the edges and since 50 caliber is the largest available caliber that can be produced. That’s the edge,” says Westrom.
He ads these gun ban proposals are just the latest in a long line of attempts to ban firearms in Illinois. He’s says this latest push is certainly un-constitutional, and what’s worse he says it’s job killing legislation introduced at a time when Illinois needs all the tax help it can get.
“It would force you guys out plain and simple, is that fair to say? Oh absolutely. We have engineers doing designing, we have people designing fixtures and the fixtures go on machines and the machines get have people running them, you can’t just take a factory like this pack it up into a couple of pick-ups and move it away,” says Westrom, adding that if these bills managed to get signed into law he and several other local gun manufacturers would have no choice to other than to relocate or to close down.