Thursday, January 21, 2010

State Sheriffs support right-to-carry

At tonight's kick-off of the McHenry County Right to Carry Association, McHenry County Sheriff Keith Nygren, incumbent and Republican candidate for Sheriff in the February 2, 2010, Primary Election, told the estimated 500 in attendance that on February 3, 2009, the Illinois Sheriffs Association ( passed a resolution to support the right to carry concealed, loaded handguns in Illinois.

His statement was carefully worded, and at no time did he say that he favored concealed carry. Several years ago the executive director of the Association told me that the sheriffs in northern Illinois in the Chicago suburban area did not favor concealed carry.

What Keith said was that the Resolution was passed by 90% of those (sheriffs) who were present.

There were several things he did not say.

He did not say that he voted for it. He did not say how many sheriffs of the 102 sheriffs in Illinois voted for it. He did not say how large the group of sheriffs present at the time of the vote was.

Keith said the Resolution contained several Conditions that the sheriffs felt were important.

Comment: some of these conditions are BRIGHT RED FLAGS that demand the close attention of gun owners. Attendees were polite tonight, and no one jeered, hissed or booed.

The conditions include, in part:

1. The permit to carry concealed would be issued by the State, rather than by local sheriffs or police chiefs. (This is good; it eliminates favoritism and prevents a sheriff or police chief from denying a permit on personal grounds.)
2. The permitholder would have to receive adequate training, including live fire at a range.
3. A sheriff or police chief would provide input on an applicant. THIS IS A DANGEROUS CONDITION.
4. An Illinois driver's license would indicate that the licensee was qualified for a concealed weapons permit. THIS IS A DANGEROUS CONDITION.
5. Guns would have to be stored properly in the home.
6. A "flash" law to penalize anyone who abused his right-to-carry privilege, allowing the privilege to be taken away forever if he abused the privilege. THIS IS A DANGEROUS CONDITION.

The dangers?

The local sheriff or police chief could stall or prevent a permit's being issued to an otherwise qualified applicant, just because he didn't like him. Can you just imagine my application passing across Keith's desk? What would he write on it - that I was stalking him?

Police officers and deputies do not face harm from law-abiding, gun-toting drivers or citizens. One attendee challenged Keith tonight; wish I had gotten his name and spoken with him.

Keith referred to concealed carry as a privilege. NO. It's not a privilege; it's a right! That';s what tonight's meeting was all about. Again, no jeers or catcalls. What a polite group!

When the microphone opened up for audience remarks, I mentioned that, when I moved to Illinois in 1996, I had telephoned the sheriff's department to ask where to get an application for a concealed carry permit. At this point I could have sandbagged Keith, but I didn't. I told the truth. That year was the year before he took office. A deputy laughed at me and said, "You will never get a concealed carry permit in Illinois."

I added that, after Jack Franks was elected, I had asked him several times to support a concealed carry law, and every time Jack answered with, "Well, I'm a member of the NRA, aren't I?" And I fell for it.

After I loaned Professor John Lott's book, More Guns, Less Crime, to one of Jack's legislative aides in 2005, hoping to influence her with facts, I was told that "Jack will never support concealed carry."

I urge every voter to call Rep. Jack Franks (815/334-0063) and ask, specifically, "Will Jack support a concealed carry bill?" Let me know what you find out. Get an answer: Yes? No? Post it right here. You may need to catch him in person and ask him face-to-face. Do not accept, "Well, I'm a member of the NRA, you know."

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