August 24, 2012
An Illinois state's attorney is receiving tons of support from the shooting community after announcing he will not prosecute anyone charged with carrying a concealed firearm in his jurisdiction.
According to The (Bloomington, Ill.) Pantagraph, McLean County State's Attorney Ron Dozier announced Tuesday he would no longer prosecute those whose only accused crime is firearms possession.
"We will no longer use the power and authority of our office to criminalize and punish decent otherwise law-abiding citizens who chose to exercise their rights granted under them by the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution to keep and bear arms in defense of themselves and their families," Dozier said in a press release.
Illinois law prohibits citizens from possessing a firearm in public, making it the only state that does not allow CCW in some form, therefore making McLean County a CCW oasis in central Illinois.
"My purpose is to send a message to the Governor and legislators of this State who continue to ignore the U.S. Supreme Court decisions, and who continue to oppose reasonable legislation that would bring Illinois into compliance with the Second Amendment. I know that other State's Attorneys share my views and am hoping they will join in this effort," Dozier said, citing Supreme Court cases like District of Columbia v. Heller and McDonald v. Chicago.
"Our message is this: we will no longer use the power and authority of our office to criminalize and punish decent, otherwise law-abiding citizens who choose to exercise the rights granted to them by the Second Amendment of the United States' Constitution to keep and bear arms in defense of themselves and their families"
Dozier said, however, that cases would be reviewed and charges could be filed based on several factors: whether drugs or alcohol are involved; reason for carrying; reckless use of the firearm; and "whether the gun was possessed or carried under the terms of his state's regulations" if the person is not an Illinois native.
Be that as it may, Dozier's decision isn't being met with much applause from many, including local law enforcement.
"Many share the same belief as our state's attorney, including me. However, until the governor signs legislation creating CCW, all firearms have to be unloaded and cased and for transport to be legal and the owner must possess a FOID card. I advised sheriff's office law enforcement staff that we will not change our enforcement policies and that we shall continue to enforce the laws of the state of Illinois as they currently exist," McLean County Sheriff Mike Emery told reporters.
In addition, Republican Jason Chambers, who is running unopposed for Dozier's position in November, said he will not follow Dozier's precedent.
"Doing things in this manner is reckless. The job of the state's attorney is to enforce the laws of the State of Illinois," Chambers said. "...The office can be used to get attention for an issue but this is a little different because you're refusing to enforce the law."
This isn't the first example of local officials tuning out Illinois lawmakers. In an March 20 election, voters in Pike County, Ill., approved a concealed-carry ordinance, marking the first time since the 19th century a county has enacted a concealed-carry ordinance despite objection from the state.
According to The Outdoor Wire, the ordinance was passed 3,214 to 550 and marked the first time since 1862 a county has passed a law that directly contradicted state law. The last time it happened, five counties in Virginia voted against the state's secession from the Union, resulting in the formation of West Virginia.
The "Constitutional Carry" ordinance was led by Dr. Dan Mefford of Pittsfield, Ill., in conjunction with Guns & Ammo contributing editor Dick Metcalf.
Pike County Board members previously stated in 2007 any further firearms restrictions by the Illinois General Assembly would be deemed "Unconstitutional and beyond lawful Legislative Authority." Following the county's lead, 89 percent of Illinois counties passed the same resolution, and more rural and downstate counties have been expected to follow Pike County's lead once again.
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