Protecting your gun rights is your responsibility. When new gun bans and legislation are introduced it is your responsibility to voice your opposition. When pro gun bills and legislation are introduced it your your responsibility to voice your support. Filing an Illinois Witness slip is very fast and simple to do, and I’ll explain step by step below.
Step 1 – Optional Create an Account
The first step in filing an Illinois witness slips is actually optional, but I recommend it. That is to create an account at the Illinois General Assembly Website. This is an official Illinois Government website, but it is not the main parent website where the text of the bills are stored. If you already have an account at the my.ilga website, proceed to step 2 below.
Visit my.ilga.gov . If you don’t already have an account, simply click on the link to “Register” which will redirect you to the registration page: http://my.ilga.gov/Account/Register where you would enter in your email address and password, and agree to the terms. You will then be sent a confirmation email.
Registration is recommended because when completing a witness slip, you will be asked information such as your name and who you represent. Rather than completing this information each time you file a slip, registering an account makes it simple because it remembers the information for you.
Once you have created your account, or if you prefer not to create an account, you may then file a witness slip. But how do you know what slips require your attention? You may visit the facebook page for GunRights4Illinois or request to be added to the Illinois State Rifle Association mailing list at firstname.lastname@example.org . Also a great resource is Illinois Carry. Through the various aforementioned organizations you WILL be notified about any proposed legislation that needs your attention.
Often a link will be provided in these notices. Typically a bill number will be provided in these notices. If a direct link is provided that makes it simple for you to find. If you only have a bill number, you will visit the my.ILGA website and browse through the committee hearings to find the bill or Amendment you are seeking to find.
Step 2 – Creating the slip
Assuming you find the direct link and click it, you would be directed to the link requiring your attention. If you have an account, click the log on button in the upper right hand corner. If you don’t have an account begin by manually typing in your information. Information such as Name and Address is self explanatory.
Information such as Firm/Business Agency does not apply if you are representing yourself, and you would simply input “Self”. It is frowned upon to enter information such as “NRA” if you do not represent the NRA in an official capacity. For Title, you can simply put N/A, or Mr. or Mrs.
In the box regarding representation is somewhat redundant to firm. If you are officially representing an organization or agency you would input that information in the box, however if you have no official representation, you would then be representing yourself.
Step 3 – Position
You will be allowed to enter your position to the proposed bill or amendment. Either in favor of the bill (Proponent), against (Opponent) or neutral (No Position). It is also extremely important that you use the drop down to select “original bill” or a specific amendment. Often there will be a good bill, but an anti gun politician will try to attach an anti gun amendment. It is important to know what you are opposing or supporting!
Step 4 – Testimony
You are given the option to give oral testimony. You would only select this box if you intend to drive to Springfield and give testimony infront of committee. You would select written statement if you have officially filed a written statement on the proposed bill. However in nearly all cases you would simply select “Record of Appearance Only” which simply records your official position on the bill or amendment.
You would then click on “Create Slip” and you will be done.
Often people will ask how much these witness slips really matter. While the slips don’t matter nearly as much as they should, they allow We the People to be heard. Also before each committee meeting the committee chair will state how many are for and how many are against the specific bill or amendment. Often politicians have remarked how quickly the pro gun rights crowd in Illinois is to mobilize on specific issues. Elected politicians also suse the slip counts during floor debates. These witness slips do matter! We can not always block bad bills in committee, but sometimes we can.