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In support of concealed weapons

PRINCETON — The Bureau County Board has made its decision to unanimously support a resolution in favor of concealed weapon legislation in Illinois.

At Thursday’s meeting, board member Robin Rediger presented a concealed weapon resolution for the third month in a row for board consideration. In an adjustment from previous resolutions, Thursday’s resolution did not address any specific House or Senate bills, but rather was a more general statement in support of the Family and Personal Protection Act. Thursday’s resolution also requested the Bureau County Sheriff’s Department be able to retain some of the application fees for the county, if the sheriff’s department is the agency handling the application process.

The resolution stated, in part, the right of people to keep and bear arms is guaranteed as an individual right under the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and under the Illinois Constitution. The 49 other states in the country have already enacted legislation to allow their citizens to carry concealed firemans.

The resolution also states the Bureau County Board supports proper safety, gun knowledge and live fire training and qualifications regarding the use of force as citizens. In addition, individuals should carry their concealed firearm permit, similar to a driver’s license or FOID card.

In response to the proposed resolution, board member Steve Sondgeroth said he supports the resolution because he believes the residents of Bureau County and the state of Illinois have the right to carry a firearm when needed. Residents wouldn’t have to carry a firearm, but the choice would be their decision to make, he said.

As stated in the resolution, the board agreed to send the resolution to the county’s legislators and Gov. Pat Quinn.

On Wednesday, Rediger said he had brought the idea for the concealed weapons-support resolution to the law committee several months ago. But after the December 2012 school shooting in Connecticut, he did not want to “stir the pot” and decided to wait a while before further pursuing the discussion. However, the shooting in Connecticut just made him more convinced than ever before that citizens have the right to carry firearms, he said.

Of course, any citizen who wants to carry a firearm needs to have the proper training, Rediger added. In his opinion, teachers who are comfortable with the idea and who want to go through the proper training should be allowed to carry a firearm to protect their students at school.

The fact that Thursday night’s county board vote was a unanimous one speaks to the importance of the resolution, Rediger said. Though a couple board members had told him, apart from the meeting, that they were not in favor of the resolution and would not personally carry a firearm, they would not vote against the resolution but rather give the choice to the citizens, Rediger said.

As reported earlier, the Seventh U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in December 2012 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 also stated Illinois lawmakers do 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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