Gun control advocates target state legislators

Published: 5/8/2008 1:35 PM | Updated: 5/8/2008 7:39 PM

Postcards with a picture of a handgun and children as targets started appearing in mailboxes and on windshields in a few central Lake County towns this week.

The postcards, distributed by representatives of the Brady Campaign, a national gun control advocacy group, criticize Republican state Rep. Sandy Cole of Grayslake for voting against legislation that would require background checks on all handgun sales.

"She is against universal background checks," said Jennifer Bishop, Illinois Million Mom March national program director for victims and survivors while handing out leaflets Thursday outside Cole's Grayslake office. "This bill is an extra layer of protection."

The bill was defeated in the Illinois House in April.

Cole's office released a statement earlier calling the mailers misleading.

"All Illinois residents who buy or possess firearms, including handguns, are required by law to have a valid (Firearm Owners Identification) card. FOID cards are issued by the Illinois State Police after they conduct a background check of the applicant (a 30-day process)," the statement read.

Cole said in her statement, "under current Illinois law, all private sales of firearms must include an examination of the purchaser's FOID card. The FOID card system and other controls on private gun sales work well here in Illinois."

Bishop says the FOID cards are not foolproof and that last year Illinois State Police reported that 1,000 people with valid FOID cards failed background checks at gun stores.

"With the FOID card you only undergo a background check every 10 years," she said. "It doesn't check everything."

Cole's 62nd Representative District includes all or portions of Gurnee, Grayslake, Hainesville, Lake Villa, Lindenhurst, Old Mill Creek, the Round Lake communities, Third Lake and unincorporated areas in northern Lake County.

The group is targeting a similar postcard campaign at state Rep. Dennis Reboletti of Elmhurst, who also voted against the legislation.