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Question of the day

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

* Kathleen Sances is president and CEO of the Gun Violence Prevention Action Committee in the Sun-Times

Every spring and summer, news headlines tell the tragic stories and statistics of the people lost and the communities devastated by gun violence. This year’s headlines have been dominated by COVID-19, but the loss and devastation has been just as great.

Unfortunately, gun violence in Illinois hasn’t stopped because of COVID-19, and the same communities most impacted by this epidemic are the same ones now also suffering from the COVID-19 disaster.

Across Illinois, while we’ve all been under orders to “stay at home,” gun violence is up 6 percent, unintentional shootings have increased and calls to domestic violence and suicide hotlines continue to grow. And in predominantly black and Latino neighborhoods, hospitals are struggling to attend to both COVID patients and shooting victims, as these communities grapple with the convergence of two deadly disasters. We must stop these trends before more lives are lost.

While these numbers are a sobering illustration of the deadly intersection of COVID-19 and gun violence, there is hope. The Illinois’ General Assembly is about to reconvene for a special session focused on the COVID crisis and other disasters. There, lawmakers have the opportunity to address our state’s gun violence epidemic by passing SB 1966, the BIO Bill, which will expand background checks to all gun sales. This life-saving law will reduce the flow of illegal guns by depriving the illegal market of a loophole that allows people deemed too dangerous to own a firearm to acquire them with no questions asked. […]

During the [Illinois Gun Violence Prevention Coalition’s Digital Day of Action] event, Senate President Don Harmon said he is committed to taking the BIO Bill over the finish line. We urge his colleagues in the Senate to demonstrate the same courage. Like any public health crisis, the gun violence epidemic will not go away unless bold action is taken. Now is the time for the Illinois Senate to save lives by passing SB 1966.

The bill is on Third Reading in the Senate with a motion to concur. If it passes, it goes to the governor. A vote would also likely mean more protesters in Springfield this week.

* The Question: Should the Senate take up this bill this week? Take the poll and then explain your answer in comments, please…


bike trails

- Posted by Rich Miller        

77 Comments
  1. - Demoralized - Tuesday, May 19, 20 @ 2:33 pm:

    No. Absolutely not. We’ve got enough crazy conspiracy theorists out there right now and they’ll just use this to fuel their conspiracy rants.


  2. - Elliott Ness - Tuesday, May 19, 20 @ 2:36 pm:

    Worst idea ever…or at least since Harmon write the letter asking for the federal government to bail out the state.


  3. - Skirmisher up - Tuesday, May 19, 20 @ 2:40 pm:

    Aside from the fact that we already have background checks in Illinois and this is a purely “feel good” political sort of bill, we have really huge economic issues that are going to require a very considerable level of bipartisanship and political capital and purely partisan divisive social issue stuff is simply going to complicate things beyond hope.


  4. - RuralKing - Tuesday, May 19, 20 @ 2:40 pm:

    NO…this is a bad bill anytime, but especially now


  5. - Rural Survivor - Tuesday, May 19, 20 @ 2:42 pm:

    I’m not in favor of criminals having access to guns, but doing this now could make the downstate unrest even more volatile. If you can’t discuss reopening this state, a bill like this just adds to the resentment.


  6. - don the legend - Tuesday, May 19, 20 @ 2:42 pm:

    Voted no. A bill worth considering but not under these current circumstances.


  7. - Grandson of Man - Tuesday, May 19, 20 @ 2:42 pm:

    Yes, and with the aggravating situation of more gun violence in a pandemic. Gun ownership is not an unlimited right. The vast majority supports expanded background checks. If our freedom and security are overly dependent on an armed citizenry we’re a failed state.


  8. - 47th Ward - Tuesday, May 19, 20 @ 2:42 pm:

    Sure. It’s time to face down those loud voices trying to intimidate the rest of us. Survey after survey shows strong public support for better background checks. Why are we so afraid of a few angry white men?


  9. - flea - Tuesday, May 19, 20 @ 2:46 pm:

    voted yes. When is it ever a bad time to enhance abilities to ensure better vetting of wannabe gun owners?


  10. - Dan Johnson - Tuesday, May 19, 20 @ 2:46 pm:

    Yes. Most of the consensus for this bill has already been built. The Senate will be in session for only a few days and lives can be saved by voting for it. If there are 30 Senators or more ready to vote for the bill, then by all means. It’s too bad so many good initiatives have been stalled this year. Would be nice to see some progress on saving lives from gun violence.


  11. - Big Jer - Tuesday, May 19, 20 @ 2:52 pm:

    I voted yes for the reasons 47th mentioned.

    There will always be protests of some kind. And there will always be some crisis to deal with, but building a civilized society must continue. If we let every crisis, protest, evil men or women , etc. stop progress then we would all still be living in caves.


  12. - Donnie Elgin - Tuesday, May 19, 20 @ 2:56 pm:

    ” This life-saving law will reduce the flow of illegal guns by depriving the illegal market of a loophole that allows people deemed too dangerous to own a firearm to acquire them with no questions asked.”

    Sorry but that statement is false - currently, there is no way to transfer a firearm without first going to the Illinois State Police website and verify that the buyer has a valid FOID card. The buyer is checked under the Firearm Transfer Inquiry Program (FTIP) prior to the release of a firearm. This applies to a person to person transfers, private sales, gun store sales, and sales at gun shows. The buyers will also have to wait 72 hours to pick up up the firarm.


  13. - RNUG - Tuesday, May 19, 20 @ 3:01 pm:

    Voted no.

    If you are following the existing one, there is no need for this bill.

    If you aren’t following existing law, you won’t obey this one either.


  14. - Jax - Tuesday, May 19, 20 @ 3:06 pm:

    Yes. Shelter at home has risen gun sales & domestic violence & suicide is on the rise. It absolutely is something that needs to be done now.


  15. - Anonymous - Tuesday, May 19, 20 @ 3:08 pm:

    Yes - this bill will help to save lives and could have prevented the tragic shooting in Aurora. We owe it to those victims and others like them to act now.


  16. - CountryOverParty - Tuesday, May 19, 20 @ 3:10 pm:

    Someone posted this link to a conservative website, so you are getting a lot of people from out of state posting yes. Just FYI, I do no think that is fair.


  17. - Soder606 - Tuesday, May 19, 20 @ 3:14 pm:

    This bill fixes terrible loopholes in our current gun regulations. And the mad rush for people to buy guns during the pandemic shows how important that we have strong laws to make sure only people who are totally qualified to have a gun are allowed to get and keep one.


  18. - SOIL M - Tuesday, May 19, 20 @ 3:17 pm:

    No. It is a Bill that does nothing except make people think they are doing something. Its a bad Bill anytime, but to try and use this Disaster to push it through is just once again politicizing the Pandemic. Another attempt at Never Let a Crisis Go To Waste.
    Do they have any idea that Background Checks are already required?


  19. - RDB - Tuesday, May 19, 20 @ 3:18 pm:

    No for simple reason that I think we have other, bigger priorities than this. I support reasonable gun restrictions but this is a priority for another day. Get to the basics of supporting residents during the pandemic, the state budget and table the fluff.


  20. - theCardinal - Tuesday, May 19, 20 @ 3:21 pm:

    Anyone that thinks requiring finger printing will somehow save lives is not paying attention to crime statistics. Criminals will continue to aquire weapons illegally and law abiding citizens will have to pay the freight for feel good legislation that will accomplish little if anything. Enforce the law stop with the distractions.


  21. - PContos - Tuesday, May 19, 20 @ 3:21 pm:

    Yes. With COVID-19, it is more important than ever before to have robust background checks for gun purchases. We have plenty of data that supports the efficacy of the different components of the BIO Bill, and polling shows people across the state (and the political spectrum) support this legislation.


  22. - Suzanna Ibarra - Tuesday, May 19, 20 @ 3:23 pm:

    YES


  23. - Just Another Anon - Tuesday, May 19, 20 @ 3:29 pm:

    No. Never let a crisis go to waste, right? Its almost as if people who want to shoot people don’t care about the governor’s stay at home order, or any other law….


  24. - Amalia - Tuesday, May 19, 20 @ 3:32 pm:

    consistency. want to buy a gun? everyone has a background check. not just some. all. consistency.


  25. - Werq - Tuesday, May 19, 20 @ 3:38 pm:

    This bill expands background checks to all gun sales, and it is a sensible step to close problems with IL FOID law. Those weaknesses were on full display at the Henry Pratt shooting. You can also see the real-life implications of leaving domestic abusers with revoked FOID cards and guns here: https://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/aurora-beacon-news/ct-abn-coronavirus-domestic-violence-st-20200514-3fp5erlpsjbtzl7q6qt7i543ye-story.html


  26. - Anonymous - Tuesday, May 19, 20 @ 3:49 pm:

    Yes, several flaws in our current system are addressed in this legislation. Continuing with the current flaws during the pandemic is dangerous as gun violence has increased alongside the pandemic.


  27. - Blue Dog Dem - Tuesday, May 19, 20 @ 3:52 pm:

    in this era of diminished rights, we might as well enact stop and frisk. This should have greater impact than this redundant bill.


  28. - Rigby - Tuesday, May 19, 20 @ 3:52 pm:

    This bill also requires fingerprinting of FOID applicants and renewals. I have had a card since 1973 and spent 29 years in law enforcement, retiring from the ISP as a Sergeant from Investigations.

    The offender who killed Commander Bauer was a four time convicted felon. This bill will do nothing to stop gun violence. Those who want to get a firearm will still be able to obtain one from the streets.


  29. - CJ - Tuesday, May 19, 20 @ 3:57 pm:

    Yup, let’s just treat every law-abiding gun owner as a criminal… freaking love Illinois…I would love one of the many Democrats on this blog to tell me…do u actually think the 2nd Amendment exists or is it just words you can ignore? Tired of this crap


  30. - Diem - Tuesday, May 19, 20 @ 4:07 pm:

    Absolutely! We often hear grand tales of the law-abiding gun owner. Well excellent, this shouldn’t provide any undue burden at all to any of my gun wielding brethren. Keep your background clean, keep your books straight…no issues. The senate should definitely take up this bill.


  31. - JS Mill - Tuesday, May 19, 20 @ 4:15 pm:

    @CJ- and I am tired of rhetoric like yours. Just wondering, are you aware of the other 26 Amendments? The sky isn’t falling. In Illinois we have more freedom with guns than we have had in my life time with the enactment of the CCL law (I am a proud CCL holder). This new law would help me have piece of mind that, if I choose to sell one of my guns, I am selling a gun to someone who can legally posses one. I won’t be selling any, but when my son comes of age I will transfer the ones I bought for him to his possession. A brief wait time is not so daunting that it will be a problem. Grown ups can be patient and the constitution does not mention anything about I have to have it right this second”. the USSC has long imposed limits on the rights found in the constitution.

    I voted yes, I refuse to be intimidated by the tyranny of a tiny unpatriotic minority of citizens.


  32. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Tuesday, May 19, 20 @ 4:15 pm:

    Voted Yes.

    It’s a Concurrence vote for pity sake.

    Let’s not make a mountain out of a mole hill.


  33. - revvedup - Tuesday, May 19, 20 @ 4:19 pm:

    NO.Criminals do not obey laws by definition, nor will this stop crime or suicide. Fingerprinting the law-abiding also will not stop crime, but will make people think they’re doing something about crimes. Gun owners are not all criminals, nor former criminals, and the added cost, effort, and expense to get fingerprinted is just another anti-gun ploy to harass law-abiding gun owners in Illinois. We’ve blamed inanimate objects and their law-abiding owners long enough. Time to prosecute the criminals, lock them up for long sentences, just as was done by the Feds in Project Exile. See this: https://www.styleweekly.com/richmond/in-just-three-years-project-exile-has-startled-critics-and-supporters-with-a-message-so-strong-it-makes-criminals-drop-guns-now-everyone-fro/Content?oid=1390279Instead we have liberal Illinois going no-bond, no meaningful punishment, no accountability for criminals.


  34. - Civil citizen - Tuesday, May 19, 20 @ 4:20 pm:

    If you are law-abiding and have nothing to hide, then a background check and/or identification and accountability should not be an issue given the potential of gun use to critically injure or kill the target. I’d actually like to see ammunition tracked and regulated. Who needs 1000+ rounds at a time in this society? Who are law-abiding gun owners going to shoot this week? Let’s register guns/ammo like we register cars (also a lethal weapon in the wrong hands) - with a photo id, test for competence, and annual registration with the state.


  35. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, May 19, 20 @ 4:28 pm:

    ===It’s a Concurrence vote for pity sake.===

    What’s that supposed to mean? It’s final passage.


  36. - Blue Dog Dem - Tuesday, May 19, 20 @ 4:35 pm:

    this would really help solidify the contact tracing voluntary program.


  37. - lowdrag - Tuesday, May 19, 20 @ 4:51 pm:

    How many laws do we need? Enforce the ones we have.


  38. - Anton - Tuesday, May 19, 20 @ 5:20 pm:

    Illinois has universal background checks already. How’s that working out?

    This is a law in search of a problem. The problem exists for other reasons. We have huge levels of income disparity in the regions with significant gang violence.

    Guns don’t kill people, systematic inequality does.


  39. - Deb childers - Tuesday, May 19, 20 @ 5:23 pm:

    Yes


  40. - Jeff - Tuesday, May 19, 20 @ 5:27 pm:

    If you want to own a gun then there should be a background check. Just showing a FOID card is not a background check. If you want to own something that can kill someone then your background should be looked into. Just because you got your FOID in 1973 doesn’t mean you haven’t done something that warrant your card being taken away. Let it go to the floor. I vote yes


  41. - Do your homework - Tuesday, May 19, 20 @ 5:38 pm:

    Jeff, background checks are ran on existing FOID holders on a continuous basis


  42. - Last Bull Moose - Tuesday, May 19, 20 @ 5:40 pm:

    Voted no. Just think timing is wrong.

    No problem with fingerprinting. Would like to see for FOID, driver’s license, and voting.

    Feds have had my fingerprints since 1968. Not a big deal.


  43. - I'm not Jeff - Tuesday, May 19, 20 @ 5:43 pm:

    Jeff, the FOID card *is* a background check. The ISP runs all the FOID holders against ISP and FBI lists every night of the year except for Mother’s Day and Easter.

    Who else will we move to fingerprint for exercising a constitutionally-protected right?


  44. - Ghost Writer - Tuesday, May 19, 20 @ 5:46 pm:

    Even Justice Scalia said the Second Amendment did not prohibit reasonable restrictions. The vast majority in this country believe background checks are reasonable, and this country is supposed to be a democracy. Let the people decide.


  45. - nadia - Tuesday, May 19, 20 @ 5:52 pm:

    I voted “no” because they have more important issues to discuss in this limited Spring session. Not saying it shouldn’t be considered later but it can wait for now.


  46. - Don - Tuesday, May 19, 20 @ 5:54 pm:

    IL already has universal background checks - FOID. Every FOID holder goes through background check every day except for Fed holidays. To make face to face transfer and not go through an FFL dealer, you must go to the State Police web site to make sure the buyer’s FOID is valid. There re no loopholes. As far as fingerprints go, this is being pushed by the company that provides fingerprints to the State. Do you think they may have a motive ($$$) to push this bill? This bill will do nothing to stop Chicago’s violence, that’s a long neglected social problem. It will however further infringe on a citizen’s 2A RIGHTS.


  47. - Jeremy - Tuesday, May 19, 20 @ 6:00 pm:

    Yes. There is no reason to be afraid of a background check unless you have something to hide. & you DO NOT go through constant background checks if you have a FOID. SB1966 will fix that though


  48. - Tim Norris - Tuesday, May 19, 20 @ 6:01 pm:

    No.
    Every legal gun owner in Illinois undergoes a FOID background check everyday. When it comes time for a FOID holder to buy a gun, they go through an additional background check PLUS a minimum 3 day waiting period. Criminals do not go through a background check. This bill will never change that… nothing will change that.


  49. - Anon - Tuesday, May 19, 20 @ 6:02 pm:

    Yes


  50. - Anonymous - Tuesday, May 19, 20 @ 6:09 pm:

    common sense to have guns only in responsible mature hands and owners


  51. - Anonymous - Tuesday, May 19, 20 @ 6:20 pm:

    When you find a foolproof way to completely disarm those who do not obey the laws then, and only then, should you talk about limiting Gun access to those who do obey the laws.

    By nature, those who don’t obey laws will not obey this one either.
    This type of law serves only to harm those who obey the laws.


  52. - Retired Teacher - Tuesday, May 19, 20 @ 6:53 pm:

    This bill will correct the loopholes in the FOID card system. With proper firearm removal of revoked FOID cards, the shooting in Aurora at the Henry Pratt Company could have been avoided. All gun purchases should be subject to background checks. The Illinois State Police agree with this law.


  53. - Gordy - Tuesday, May 19, 20 @ 7:02 pm:

    Yes. Responsible gun owners are for responsible gun laws. What we have now is broke & needs to be fixed. SB1966 does that.


  54. - Cathy - Tuesday, May 19, 20 @ 8:00 pm:

    There are too many loopholes in the current FOID law. How many more must die because it’s so easy for people who should not have them to get guns under the radar? Responsible gun owners agree SB1966 is a good bill.


  55. - DownstateIllinoisan - Tuesday, May 19, 20 @ 8:44 pm:

    This should not be voted on at all. It should be allowed to die like any other bad bill. 1966 does nothing to prevent crime in any way. It just adds to the undue burden that law abiding Illinoisans face when buying or selling guns. It raises the cost for us to excercise our right to own firearms by a factor of 10, not including the new cost for person to person transfers. Name any other right that costs money to excercise. I would be willing to bet a large sum of money you can’t.


  56. - Change Agent - Tuesday, May 19, 20 @ 8:52 pm:

    This bill is critically important, and I have put in hours working in support of it. But this is not the right time. I want our legislators to spend the next three days laser focused on keeping people healthy, providing direct financial assistance to the people who most need it, and trying to keep the state - especially critical health and social services - afloat. Ultimately we need effective gun policy to address gun violence, but these other measures are the right short-term response to the pandemic and to gun violence.


  57. - Dee Escalate - Tuesday, May 19, 20 @ 9:22 pm:

    Responsible gun owners should prioritize safety.


  58. - Law abiding FOID carrier - Tuesday, May 19, 20 @ 9:39 pm:

    Yes, please call it for a vote. If you have nothing to hide you keep your guns. If it stops one suicide, one murder, one accidental shooting, we’ve made a difference.


  59. - Concerned - Tuesday, May 19, 20 @ 9:42 pm:

    This bill is so important, and it is very clear from the comments that there are a lot of misconceptions around the laws that are already in place. Background checks are NOT required to purchase a weapon. This is why the Henry Pratt shooting occurred. Any seller is required to verify the the existence of a FOID card. However, a FOID card does not require a background check. This is not a “slippery slope” toward outlawing all guns. This is common sense. Use it.


  60. - Anonymous - Tuesday, May 19, 20 @ 9:46 pm:

    Gun violence doesn’t go away even during a pandemic.


  61. - RNUG - Tuesday, May 19, 20 @ 9:52 pm:

    == Background checks are NOT required to purchase a weapon. This is why the Henry Pratt shooting occurred. Any seller is required to verify the the existence of a FOID card. However, a FOID card does not require a background check. ==

    EVERY FOID card is ran every day against state and federal databases to see if any court orders or other disqualifying event has occurred and been entered into the database. Your FOID is checked for validity when your purchase a firearm, and 3 days later when you actually pickup your firearm to make sure you are still ok. Not counting the origThat is a minimum of 3 daily checks


  62. - RNUG - Tuesday, May 19, 20 @ 9:54 pm:

    … not counting the original background check, that is 3 checks every time you purchase a firearm.

    Hiw many more checks do you need to feel safe?


  63. - TAXEDOUTWEST - Tuesday, May 19, 20 @ 10:55 pm:

    As a FOID carrier, I have zero problem with deeper background checks, especially when buying a firearm. The reduction of 10 years to 5 years for the renewal of the FOID card is just ludicrous for law-abiding hunters and gun enthusiasts. Revenue gain? Not really, its still very cheap just more government intrusion.


  64. - Wotan1949 - Wednesday, May 20, 20 @ 7:24 am:

    “Saving lives” is not just about the pandemic. Fixing the flawed FOID system would do the same. With no infringement of the 2nd amendment, some protest way too much.


  65. - Rhi - Wednesday, May 20, 20 @ 7:32 am:

    Gun violence has not gone away just because we are in the midst of a pandemic. While IL generally has good gun laws. The Aurora shooting helped us to realize there are still gaping holes in the system that allow people that shouldn’t have to get them. This needs to be fixed and the Senate should make this bill a priority.


  66. - Greg Catrambone - Wednesday, May 20, 20 @ 9:23 am:

    This type of legislation is long overdue and , frankly, not controversial. The majority of law abiding gun owners support stricter background checks.


  67. - CAP - Wednesday, May 20, 20 @ 9:41 am:

    This bill will save lives. We must strive for well regulated background checks on each and every gun sale. The majority of law abiding gun owners support universal background checks. We can pass this and still work on helping those in need during this health crisis.


  68. - AU - Wednesday, May 20, 20 @ 9:51 am:

    Yes. Responsible gun owners are grownups who can handle backgrounds checks. A minority of whiners should not hold up this legislations.


  69. - JTR - Wednesday, May 20, 20 @ 10:17 am:

    Yes, absolutely. This bill will improve the laws we already have and save lives. This law could have prevented the tragedy in Aurora—we owe it to the victims to take action. And we owe it to the rest of us to do everything we can to keep guns out of the hands of those who should not have them.


  70. - Jan Schwartz - Wednesday, May 20, 20 @ 11:38 am:

    Now is the time for the Illinois Senate to save lives by passing SB 1966.


  71. - Judi Van Erden - Wednesday, May 20, 20 @ 12:35 pm:

    Yes. This bill should be passed. Responsible gun owners are not afraid of background checks.


  72. - Emily - Wednesday, May 20, 20 @ 10:36 pm:

    Now is the time for the Illinois senate to save lives. Pass bill SB1966


  73. - JC - Thursday, May 21, 20 @ 9:41 am:

    We can’t just ignore our state’s non-COVID-related problems at this time. Especially one with such a common sense remedy that doesn’t appear to affect the budget.


  74. - BH - Thursday, May 21, 20 @ 11:13 am:

    Yes. Gun violence is a public health issue.


  75. - Bob - Friday, May 22, 20 @ 8:22 am:

    No- This same bill
    - quadruples the cost of a FOID at no added benefit
    - requires fingerprinting that can add an additional cost of $150
    - Increase FOID processing time from one calendar month to thirty business days, which can span more than six weeks.


  76. - Gene Ralno - Saturday, May 23, 20 @ 7:42 am:

    I guess you didn’t like my comments. Have I been censored?


  77. - John Sanchez - Thursday, Jun 4, 20 @ 7:34 am:

    If background checks are thought to be necessary to avoid making firearms available to unqualified people, then there should be no exceptions whatsoever. I am not speaking only of the “gun show” loophole, but instead, I advocate that they be conducted for every transfer of a firearm, be it at a gun show, in a private sale, or even in cases of a firearm being given as a gift, or a bequest.

    It is accomplished easily enough by requiring that private market to enlist the services of a licensed firearms dealer for each such transfer, which dealer may charge a reasonable fee for the service.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


* Question of the day
* *** UPDATED x1 *** "We need a futile gesture at this stage"
* Dick Kay
* CDC eases up on the fully vaxed, Pritzker to revise executive orders, Sox and Cubs reserve seating for the vaccinated
* It's just a bill
* 1,918 new confirmed and probable cases; 35 additional deaths; 1,765 hospitalized; 465 in ICU; 2.7 percent average case positivity rate; 3.2 percent average test positivity rate; 76,082 average daily doses
* New unemployment applications remain low here, drop nationally
* Time Is Running Out To Hold Utilities Accountable
* Bridge Phase will begin tomorrow as scheduled
* *** UPDATED x1 *** Always read the bill, including the amendments
* Rodney Davis claims he missed the Cheney vote
* Springfield: Restricting PBM Tools Will Raise Costs for Consumers, Employers + the State
* *** UPDATED x1 - 50,000 free Six Flags tickets offered *** Vaccine roundup
* Mendoza argues for state credit upgrade
* Today's must-read
* *** UPDATED x1 *** US House dismisses Oberweis' election challenge
* *** UPDATED x1 - GOMB also revises projections upward *** More positive fiscal news as COGFA readjusts its forecast
* Another day, another lawsuit
* Secretary of state candidate warned about using official aldermanic Facebook page for his campaign
* Open thread
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