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State gun rights group wants firearms ordinance changed

Published: Wednesday, Aug. 6, 2014 1:15 a.m. CDT

PEORIA (AP) – A gun rights group that has fought many legal battles over gun ordinances in Illinois now has its sights set on a provision in Peoria’s deadly weapons ordinance that requires anyone buying a weapon to provide a thumbprint.

The Illinois State Rifle Association’s executive director, Richard Pearson, said it is too early to talk about whether the group might file a lawsuit. He said the association recently surveyed its Peoria members to determine if the ordinance has been enforced uniformly or just on occasion.

But he made it clear that the ultimate goal is to do away with the thumbprint provision of Peoria’s ordinance and that a lawsuit is a possibility.

“We don’t like these ordinances, and we’re going after them one by one,” he told the Journal Star. “We have people who are fuming about this, and people think it’s an imposition upon them.”

Pearson’s concern is that the thumbprint is unnecessary.

“It looks like it’s discriminatory to us,” he said. “Illinois has the toughest background laws in the nation, and for Peoria to decide it needs this, too, is ridiculous.”

Interim Peoria Police Chief Jerry Mitchell said that as of the spring, the city’s ordinance was being reviewed to make sure that it is in line with the Illinois law that went into effect in January that made it legal for people to carry concealed weapons in public. But he explained that review process was halted when the city’s former police chief resigned.

Under the city’s deadly weapons ordinance, gun purchasers must answer many of the same questions they are already required to answer, but that they must submit a right thumbprint and a signature. The certificate that includes the thumbprint is supposed to be turned over to the police department within 24 hours.

Peoria’s city code still technically outlaws concealed firearms, but the state law pre-empts local control over concealed weapons, according to the newspaper.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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