Straight Shootin’: Fire them up, or fire them

Eric R. Sonnenberg

By Eric R. Sonnenberg

Wednesday, Oct. 17, and again on Tuesday, Oct. 23, I attended hearings at Veterans Memorial Hall in downtown Rockford the Winnebago County Board conducted regarding the proposal to allow concealed carrying of a firearm in Winnebago County.

Our local State’s Attorney, Joe Bruscato, advised the board not to approve the measure because it is contrary to state law and Winnebago County cannot override state law.

Advocates of concealed carry argue it is the state of Illinois that is illegally overriding federal law because the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution is the supreme law of the land, and it guarantees us the “right to keep and bear arms and that right shall not be infringed.”

Illinois is now the only state in the union that does not have some form of concealed carry, and that is obviously infringing on our federal rights. Since they won’t let us defend ourselves, I guess Illinois officials think life is worth less here in Illinois than anywhere else in the country.

In April 2011, the Illinois legislature voted on the concealed carry measure and actually voted 65-22 in favor of concealed carry. Problem was, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn (D) was against it, and we needed 71 votes to override his veto. Since that vote in April 2011, Wisconsin did pass concealed carry, and they started carrying almost a year ago on Nov. 1, 2011.

We are now seeing a huge increase in violent crime in the Land of Lincoln, while in every state that has concealed carry,, the crime rate has gone down. If you think about that, it makes perfect sense. If you were a bad guy intent on committing crime with a firearm, where would you go to do it: to Illinois, where your victim can’t legally carry and can’t shoot back at you, or to any of the other 49 states where they might shoot back at you? This has made Illinois a magnet for every bad guy in the country.

All this is putting extreme pressure on Illinois legislatures to pass concealed carry because they can no longer ignore those crime statistics. But Illinois Speaker of the House Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, controls the agenda in Springfield, Ill., and he would not let it come up for a vote this last legislative session.

Madigan is extremely anti-gun, and the reason he wouldn’t let it come up for a vote is because he knows we now have the votes to pass it.

There are only two ways I can think of to change that situation. One is to vote Madigan out of office, but he is from a liberal Chicago-area district, and that is never going to happen. Madigan will be in office as long as he wants to be.

The only other option is to light a fire under our local and state politicians to pressure Madigan to bring it up for a vote. Unless we can do that, nothing at the state level will get done.

NOW is the absolute best time to light that fire under those politicians because it is only a week until the elections, and now is when they are most receptive because they want your vote. You should contact your local and state representatives by any and all means you can think of, including phone, letter, fax, e-mail, carrier pigeon, smoke signal and pony express, etc., and let them know you want concealed carry now and will vote accordingly. And if that doesn’t get them fired up enough to get off their hands and get this done, then when we go to the polls next week, we need to fire them.

Of course, there are those who don’t give a hoot about all this legal maneuvering and political posturing. They see the law of self-preservation as one of the most basic and fundamental GOD-given rights we have. They contend there is no law at the county level, the state level or even the federal level that can tell them they don’t have the right to protect themselves and their families from death or bodily injury by any means necessary. They will tell you the law of man cannot override the law of GOD, and that if any government entity has a problem with that, the authorities can go ahead and prosecute. They always say they would rather be tried by 12 than carried by six.

Eric R. Sonnenberg is a Federal Firearms Licensed gun dealer who owns Forest City Firearms, 137 N. Chicago Ave., Rockford or online at He can be reached at (815) 262-4279 or via e-mail to

From the Oct. 31-Nov. 6, 2012, issue

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