PRINCETON — A resolution to urge state lawmakers to allow concealed carry of firearms by qualified and licensed men and women was proposed for the Bureau County Board on Tuesday by board member Rob Rediger (R-Buda).
Rediger said 12 county boards in Illinois have approved resolutions to support the current House Bill 148 or similar concealed-carry bills, and he brought to the board a resolution similar to one approved by Whiteside County. It also included points raised in a Pike County resolution regarding the requirements of training before the state could grant licenses to Illinois residents for concealed-carry.
The resolution cannot come to a vote until next month.
While listening to Rediger’s presentation, board member Joe Bassetti said because of a court ruling, Illinois now has until June to approve a law allowing concealed-carry by private citizens in some form.
“We’re the only state left that hasn’t done it,” Rediger said during the county board meeting. After the meeting, he showed phrases in HB148 that he had highlighted, including proficiency testing requirements (meaning people licensed to carry a gun has to be able to hit what they’re aiming at) and firearms not being allowed at public gatherings, at government meetings, at airports or at schools or preschools.
However, the bill as written now also would allow a school board to decide whether to permit and encourage certain capable individuals to carry a gun.
“I spoke to the sheriff tonight and he is elated this is coming back up. He is 100 percent behind it,” Rediger told the county board.
If the board approves it, it would send the resolution to the governor and state legislators — that includes state Rep. David Leitch, a Republican who has represented part of Bureau County.
Tuesday’s meeting was filled with discussion of dozens of business items and financial items, but another violence-related concern was raised by county board health committee chairman Loretta Volker (R-Princeton).
Volker said since the Sandy Hook school murders in Connecticut, “several entities” have begun to question the capability of Bureau County to handle mental health issues. She said sadly many services have folded, and at times it seems “the right hand doesn’t know what the left is doing.”
There’s a push now to figure out how to provide mental health and wellness help (and detection) in Bureau County, and, she told the board there is a movement by a group of “very unhappy citizens” who say area hospitals are not doing enough. The group to which she refers has expressed concern about suicide rates and has complained to and about St. Margaret’s and Perry Memorial hospitals.
Craig Sterrett can be reached at (815) 220-6935 or email@example.com. The NewsTribune Bureau County bureau can be reached at (815) 879-5200 or firstname.lastname@example.org.