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Illinois sheriffs back concealed carry of guns, with limits

By Nicholas J.C. Pistor

ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH

02/05/2009


Belleville — Support for allowing concealed carry of firearms in Illinois — one of just two states that still outlaw it — is coming from what seems like an unlikely direction: the Illinois Sheriffs' Association.


The group, for the first time in its history, is taking a qualified stand in favor of the controversial practice.


State Rep. John Bradley, D-Marion, proposed a bill (HB245) last week that would allow residents to obtain concealed firearm permits. It would require background checks and training in handgun use, safety and marksmanship. Similar bills have been introduced in the past, and died with little support.


"I believe to be successful the key to concealed carry is training," said St. Clair County Sheriff Mearl Justus, voicing his support Wednesday. "If we allow concealed carry, we must make sure only the right people have the guns. This is best done by requiring training, proper identification, and a thorough background check — including a mental evaluation.


"If this is done, our citizens will have the right to concealed carry, but those who can't pass a background check or cannot successfully complete a training program will not be legally able to obtain a permit." MORE ILLINOIS NEWS


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Gun control groups warn of the dangers of putting more weapons into circulation, and say few people will ever use firearms to defend themselves — and normally don't use the same level of consideration as law enforcement regardless of training.


Missouri authorized concealed carry in 2003. Wisconsin is the state besides Illinois that forbids it. "I've got mixed emotions about it," said Robert Hertz, the Madison County sheriff. "Some time ago I was dead against these laws, but I've moderated my view."

Hertz said he supported the association's position. A resolution of the organization, which represents the state's 102 sheriffs, says 90 percent support concealed carry if adequate training and safeguards are included.

"Good people should have more of an opportunity to defend themselves," Hertz said. "I support this only with restrictions."

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what ever happened to Kennesaw Georgia? Wasn't that the town where everyone had to carry? Haven't heard anything about that lately.
 

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Business as usual. Jackie B.



Kennesaw, Ga., City Hall
As the nation debates whether more guns or fewer can prevent tragedies like the Virginia Tech Massacre, a notable anniversary passed last month in a Georgia town that witnessed a dramatic plunge in crime and violence after mandating residents to own firearms.

In March 1982, 25 years ago, the small town of Kennesaw – responding to a handgun ban in Morton Grove, Ill. – unanimously passed an ordinance requiring each head of household to own and maintain a gun. Since then, despite dire predictions of "Wild West" showdowns and increased violence and accidents, not a single resident has been involved in a fatal shooting – as a victim, attacker or defender.

The crime rate initially plummeted for several years after the passage of the ordinance, with the 2005 per capita crime rate actually significantly lower than it was in 1981, the year before passage of the law.

Prior to enactment of the law, Kennesaw had a population of just 5,242 but a crime rate significantly higher (4,332 per 100,000) than the national average (3,899 per 100,000). The latest statistics available – for the year 2005 – show the rate at 2,027 per 100,000. Meanwhile, the population has skyrocketed to 28,189.
 
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