Guest Column: Illinois needs a concealed carry law

May 11, 2011

By State Rep. Jim Sacia

We are a state of 12,800,000 citizens. We recognize that 48 other states have some type of concealed carry, allowing responsible citizens, meeting certain criteria, to legally carry a firearm. I know I use this phrase way too often, but it is “pretty common-sense stuff.”

For the second time this session, my good friend Brandon Phelps (D-Norris City) presented H.B. 148—Concealed Carry, as amended, to the 12 of us on the Agriculture and Conservation Committee in a room so packed with those wishing to testify that a fire marshal would have gone into immediate cardiac arrest.

Yes, I proudly co-sponsored the bill, and as I dug my fingernails into my palms and listened to testimony that Illinois cannot put firearms into the care and custody of law-abiding citizens, my blood was reaching the boiling point, but I remained composed, as I must.

“Spin” is a word with which we’ve all become familiar. Have you ever had a high- pressure fire alarm salesman come to your home to sell you their product? Some would have you believe that if you don’t buy their product, your family will die in a fire. Such was some of the testimony. Give honest, law-abiding citizens a gun, and we’ll see the Wild West all over again.

Deputy Superintendent Peterson of the Chicago Police Department, a veteran of 39 years on the department, testified as the professional he is, with the city’s opposition to the bill. I respect and accept that. But wait, the Chicago Police Lieutenants Association and the Chicago Police Sergeants’ Association are both in support while the rank and file Fraternal Order of Police are neutral on the bill. The point is, bad folks will always have guns and couldn’t care less whether it’s legal or not to carry. Most street cops support the bill.

My good friend, John Cavaletto (R-Salem), a fellow member of our committee, shared his heart-wrenching story of his 38-year-old daughter-in-law, who, four years ago went for a walk in rural Illinois. I’ll spare you the tragic details, but safe to say, as John conveyed to us, had his daughter-in-law, the mother of two, been allowed to carry her weapon in her fanny pack, she might well be with us today.

My seat mate and good friend, Don Moffitt (R-Gibson), did a masterful job in discussing response times with Deputy Superintendent Peterson, who proudly stated 10 minutes responding to a felony in progress would be completely unacceptable in Chicago.

Don shared that in rural Illinois, there may be only one state trooper or deputy sheriff in the early morning hours, where 30 minutes would have to be acceptable, and the armed, honest, responsible citizen could make the difference of life or death.

The governor has flip-flopped from stating he’d wait until the bill hits his desk to decide, to now saying he is in opposition. The state police have been ordered to go from neutral to oppose. Go figure!

The debate goes on.

As always, you can reach me, Sally or Barb at (815) 232-0774 or e-mail us at jimsacia@aeroinc.net. You can also visit my website at www.jimsacia.com. It’s always a pleasure to hear from you.

Jim Sacia (R) is the state representative for the 89th District in Illinois.

From the May 11-17, 2011 issue

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