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Thread: Illinois may beat Wisconsin in Allowing Concealed Carry

  1. #1
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    The push for a concealed carry ordinance in Winnebago County moves ahead as county board members form a subcommittee to give the issue a closer look. But some say the proposal may be off target.

    Any debate over the second amendment is guaranteed to trigger strong reactions. Many people worry more guns will lead to more crime. But gun advocates gathered at a Winnebago County Board committee meeting say, when in the right hands, the opposite is true. "We really need to draw the line between criminals and the law abiding citizens," says Rockford gun rights advocate Shaun Kranish. "You don't have to worry about the law-abiding citizens ever. But the criminals, they're going to commit crimes no matter what the laws say."

    But one board member believes legal or not, freer access to firearms raises the risk of a tragedy. "Once you shoot or maime, or kill someone, if you say well I'm sorry, I didn't mean it, I thought that person was going to do me harm, it's too late," says board member Pearl Hawkes.

    That debate is just half the issue right now. The other question is whether Winnebago County can allow residents to carry concealed firearms, when the state does not. Proponents believe Sheriff Dick Meyers has the authority to arm residents by deputizing them. Sheriff Meyers says, "That's not factual, that's not accurate, that's not true."

    State's Attorney Phil Nicolosi agrees Meyers can only issue gun permits to citizens when they are in uniform, performing a specific law enforcement task. "When they go home at night, they take the uniform off, statute does not allow them to carry a weapon," says Sheriff Meyers.

    But board members pushing the proposal believe that's up for interpretation. They say Meyers can change his policy to keep citizens deputized and armed 24 hours. "With crime being out of control, I think the sheriff has the authority to say hey, we don't have the manpower, the city doesn't have the manpower, we need citizens to get more involved and start defending themselves," says County Board Member Randy Olson. Citizens would have to go through training and background checks before gaining a permit. [They could also change the uniform requirements.]

    The county board subcommittee dedicated to this issue will meet next Tuesday in the county administration building to talk details. They will hold public hearings before bringing the proposal to the full county board for a vote. If the board passes the resolution, most likely either Sheriff Meyers would issue the permits and someone would sue him or vice versa. The National Rifle Association has offered to represent the county in that event, so the taxpayers would not have to shoulder the litigation costs.

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    By Chuck Sweeny

    When Winnebago County Board member Randy Olson, R-1st, asked me what I thought of a concealed carry proposal he and Doug Aurand, D-3rd, planned to present to the board, I said I had no problem with the concept. Forty-eight states allow people to carry concealed weapons under certain circumstances. Only Illinois and Wisconsin do not.

    To qualify for a permit, I’d want people to be American citizens without significant criminal records, and I’d require them to take and pass a firearms training course. They‘d have to take refresher courses in gun safety every three years. Their names would be on a statewide, searchable database and their driver’s licenses would indicate that they were permitted to carry concealed weapons. I’d be pretty strict about it.

    So, if liberal states like Massachusetts, New York and California have concealed carry laws and nobody‘s raising a ruckus over it, the idea can’t be that controversial.

    Besides, the bad guys are packing heat already, so maybe this would level the playing field.

    However, this is a decision for the General Assembly and the governor to make. I‘m pretty sure Winnebago County can’t pass its own concealed carry law. If counties could do that, Illinois would have a patchwork of laws in all 102 counties, some with concealed carry, some without, and all having different regulations.

    In short, we’d have chaos. So, if the Winnebago County Board wants to pass a resolution urging the state legislature to pass a concealed carry bill, that’s fine with me.

    But going beyond that, such as trying to deputize residents to make them eligible to carry hidden guns, is not only impractical, it would not withstand the inevitable court challenge. And we don’t want tax dollars spent defending the indefensible.

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    BLOOMINGTON -- The McLean County Board approved a resolution Tuesday opposing legislation that “unreasonably” infringes on the rights of people to bear arms, but the vote wasn’t unanimous or without controversy.

    Seven members voted against the motion, but several of them said it wasn’t because they don’t support the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

    Member George Gordon previously made an unsuccessful motion to postpone the issue until the U.S. Supreme Court rules in a District of Columbia gun case. He said he needed that information before voting on the county level.

    Member Dave Selzer said while he “fully supports” the Constitution and the Second Amendment, he opposes supporting legislation that “unreasonably” infringes on the rights of people to bear arms. “It’s not our job to interpret or take a side,” said Selzer.

    Walter Biesiada of Normal, one of a group who asked the board to consider the resolution, said while the board approved a watered-down version of what proponents wanted, “I’m happy. I’d rather it had come through with the original wording, but I’m happy it passed.”

    McLean County is one of 82 counties in Illinois to approve a similar resolution.

    About 3,000 McLean County residents signed a petition asking the board to pass a resolution that “opposes any legislation that infringes on the right of the people to keep and bear arms; and considers such laws to be unconstitutional and beyond lawful legislative authority,” Biesiada said.

    The County Board’s legislative subcommittee changed that wording by adding “unreasonably” infringes and eliminating the wording after “bear arms.” “It’s strong enough for our purposes,” said Biesiada. “It’s mostly symbolic.”

    (Meaning they passed a resolution that "opposes any legislation that unreasonably infringes on the right of the people to keep and bear arms." Apparently they still want to infringe upon 3,000+ citizens.)

    Member Duane Moss questioned why the issue even came up now.

    Chairman Matt Sorensen said there has been a “rash” of gun bills introduced in the state Legislature last season and this season. Some of them are still alive. When he was approached by the proponents about the resolution, he referred it to the board’s legislative subcommittee.

    Board member Rick Dean of LeRoy, who also serves as vice chairman of the subcommittee, said the new language was a “good compromise.”

    Committee member Stan Hoselton: “It’s just to show our support. It’s no big deal.”

    Board member Paul Segobiano said he couldn’t support the idea of “individuals carrying guns that could endanger the life of my children or grandchildren.”

    The board split 9-9 on postponing a vote until the U.S. Supreme Court made a ruling in the case before it. Sorensen did not vote and member Mike Sweeney was absent.

    Members then voted on the original motion to approve the resolution as changed by the legislative subcommittee.

  2. #2
    Campaign Veteran deepdiver's Avatar
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    The Chicago metro area and surrounding "bedroom communities" in Cook, DuPage, Will and Lake Counties contain ~57% of IL's population and a majority in the House and Senate. The Chicago metro area has the political ability to vote down the entire rest of the state. The problem is that Chicago, which is NOTHING like any other part of the state, thinks that what is good for them is good for everyone. There may not be a more arrogant city government and population on the planet. They are not content just to damage themselves, just to make themselves victims, but want everyone in the state, and the country for that matter, to be as helpless and State dependent as they.

    Because of that, unless something happens mightly to change the the population in IL (many of us have said for decades that the people of southern IL need to buy the O'Leary's a new cow), or to change the mind of the Chicago area citizens, there is nothing legally that the other 43% of the population living in the other 98% of the land area of the state is going to be able to do about it except utter words of objection and revolt.

    Even if they revolt, to Chicago it is just like the scene from History of the World:

    Count de Monet: It is said that the people are revolting.
    King Louis XVI: You said it! They stink on ice!
    Bob Owens @ Bearing Arms (paraphrased): "These people aren't against violence; they're very much in favor of violence. They're against armed resistance."

  3. #3
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    , Tennessee, USA

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    Of course there will be oppostion from Chicago. If I were those residents, I would also object to having my name in a public database.

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