MORRISON – Last year, Whiteside County was one of only a handful of Illinois counties that failed to approve a resolution in support of the Second Amendment.
The resolution never made it out of a County Board committee.
Now, some residents want the board to approve a resolution that specifically urges the state to pass a law allowing people to carry concealed weapons.
The board’s Executive Committee plans to take up that issue at its Nov. 13 meeting. That same panel bottled up the Second Amendment resolution in 2011.
At its meeting next week, the committee will decide whether to refer the issue to the whole board for a vote.
Local gun-rights supporters have collected 548 signatures backing the new resolution. And they say they didn’t have to work that hard to get to that number.
Illinois is the only state that doesn’t allow concealed weapons.
County Board member Gene Jacoby, D-Rock Falls, backs the resolution.
“I’ve been a hunter all my life,” he said. “I was raised around weapons and raised to respect them. It’s everyone’s right to defend themselves.”
Member Bob Van De Velde, D-Sterling, said he, too, is a lifelong hunter, but he opposes the resolution.
“I believe in being able to have a gun to go hunting,” he said. “I don’t believe in concealed carry, where people can carry a gun in public. I think you’re asking for trouble when you do that.”
Another board member, Jim Arduini, D-Sterling, said he would support a resolution for concealed weapons.
“If it’s supported by the Constitution and the Supreme Court, I will support it,” he said.
Last year, some County Board members objected to the Second Amendment resolution because they felt it was associated with concealed carry.
Officials in Brown County had sent that proposed resolution to counties around the state. Although it didn’t mention concealed carry, the cover letter did.
“It was me pushing it last time,” said Amanda Norris, who heads the Sauk Valley Tea Party. “Now, there are 547 people others also pushing it.”
Besides Whiteside County, the only other counties that didn’t approve the Brown County resolution were urban ones and those that contain universities.
Duane Blaufuss of Sterling spoke to the Whiteside County Board last month in support of the new resolution. After he spoke, the board referred the matter to the Executive Committee.
“Every state that has passed this has seen a drop in crime,” Blaufuss said.
In Winnebago County, the Rockford Tea Party presented an 11,000-signature petition to urge the county board to pass a local law allowing concealed firearms, although it would violate the state’s ban on such weapons. The county had a public hearing on the issue, drawing 80 people.
Lee County approved the Brown County-backed resolution, but the pro-concealed carry resolution hasn’t come before it.