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Taking aim at concealed carry

Published: Wednesday, March 13, 2013 4:12 p.m. CST • Updated: Wednesday, March 13, 2013 4:17 p.m. CST

PRINCETON — The Bureau County Board is again wrestling with just what kind of resolution they want to sign in support of concealed weapon legislation in Illinois.

At Tuesday’s meeting, board member Robin Rediger presented information on six concealed carry bills currently being considered by Springfield legislators. The House bill which he had presented at the February board meeting is now dead, but the other six bills, three in the Senate and three in the House, still have legs, Rediger said.

In his reading of the current bills, the primary difference between them is how much money will be charged as the license application fee and which agency or agencies will get that money. For instance, one bill would give all of license application fee to the Illinois State Police, while another bill would keep a portion of the application fee for the local sheriff’s department, he said.

Rediger recommended the board add a statement to any resolution requesting a portion of the application fee remain in Bureau County.

Board member Mike Kohr said the bill process on the concealed carry issue is moving so fast he would have a hard time voting to support one bill without first reading the others.

In his opinion, Joe Bassetti suggested the county board not support any specific bill, but rather pass a more general resolution stating the board supported concealed carry legislation, whatever the final bill looks like.

Though some bills may send all the application money to the Illinois State Police, it will be the counties who will end up being responsible, board member Tom Ptasnik said. The county board needs to ask where the money is going, he said.

After further discussion, Rediger said he would come back to next month’s meeting with a more general resolution showing the county’s support of concealed carry legislation and also that a portion of the application fee remain in the county for administrative costs.

In December 2012, the Seventh U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Illinois’ last-in-the-nation ban on carrying concealed weapons is unconstitutional and gave the Illinois legislature until June 2 to rectify the ban by passing some form of concealed weapons legislation. The federal court’s opinion stated Illinois lawmakers have the right to put restrictions on weapons carrying, such as requiring training for a license and limiting the places that guns are allowed.

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