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County takes aim at conceal carry resolution

PRINCETON — The Bureau County Board is considering a resolution to show its support of House Bill 148, which permits a county sheriff to issue permits to carry concealed firearms to persons at least 21 years of age who meet certain requirements.

Board member Robin Rediger presented the resolution at Tuesday’s meeting of the county board for the board’s consideration and discussion. Rediger said the Whiteside County Board passed a similar resolution in November, which resulted in Whiteside becoming the 12th county in the state to approve a conceal carry resolution. The Bureau County resolution was also based, in part, on a resolution approved in Pike County. Illinois is the only state to not have already passed a concealed weapons law, Rediger said.

As far as local support, Rediger said he has spoken to Bureau County Sheriff John Thompson who is 100 percent behind the proposed legislation. As recommended in House Bill 148, the gun permits would cost $65, with $25 remaining with the local sheriff’s department, Rediger said.

If the county board approved a resolution, then it would be to send it to legislators and the governor, showing the county board’s support of the legislation, Rediger added.

After further discussion, the board agreed to further review the proposed resolution before taking any action.

In other business at this week’s meeting, board member Loretta Volker gave an update on the Bureau/Putnam County Health Department and its services and programs, including the Community Partners Against Substance Abuse coalition, the recently completed IPLAN, and the health department’s dental clinic.

Volker also talked about the county’s ability to address mental health issues, a concern which she said has been brought to the health board several times since last December’s shooting at the Sandy Hook school in Connecticut. There is a definite local need in the area of mental health services. Some services have ended due to a lack of finances. Sometimes the “right hand doesn’t know what the left hand is doing.” There is a group of concerned citizens who do not think enough is being done about suicide rates, she said.

The health board does realize there is a need in the area for better mental health care, and the board is working to improve local services, Volker said.

Comment on this story at www.bcrnews.com.

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