As an Illinois resident, lifetime law enforcement officer, former soldier, sailor and American citizen, I find it appalling that our society has to over regulate guns and other weapons.  Our fine state is one of the only remaining states in the union that still prevents citizens from some form of concealed carry.  They even overly regulate a law abiding citizen’s right to openly carry a gun for protection.

     The Second Amendment is clear, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”  Simply put, the government shall not infringe the right of the people to bear arms.  It doesn’t limit the type of weapon, nor does it mention how one can or can not carry the weapon.  Yet, the state of Illinois has infringed the rights of law abiding citizen’s for decades.  Mostly, due to the high crime rates in Chicago and East Saint Louis areas.  Illinois has over-regulated, guns, knives, swords, and many other weapons.  Let’s look at some of the gun laws.  According to the Illinois State Police web-site, the following restrictions apply when transporting a firearm:

     “How can I legally transport a firearm on my person or in my vehicle?  There is more than one way to legally transport a firearm.  However, in order to be in compliance with all statutes, it is recommended all firearms be transported:  Unloaded.  Enclosed in a case and by persons who have a valid FOID card.

     What constitutes a legal “case” for transporting a firearm?  The Criminal Code refers to “a case, firearm carrying box, shipping box, or other container.”  However, the Wildlife Code is more specific, defining case as “a container specifically designed for the purpose of housing a gun or bow and arrow device which completely encloses such gun or bow and arrow device by being zipped, snapped, buckled, tied, or otherwise fastened with no portion of the gun or bow and arrow device exposed.”

     How do I transport a firearm through an Illinois community with an ordinance that prohibits firearms or handguns?  Illinois’ Unlawful Use of Weapons law does not preempt local ordinances from banning firearms.  Persons carrying or transporting firearms through such communities could be subject to local firearm ordinances.  It is recommended that you contact local authorities regarding their firearm ordinances.

     If a non-resident is coming to Illinois to hunt and would like to bring their firearm, how do they legally transport it?  Non- residents must be legally eligible to possess or acquire firearms and ammunition in their state of residence.  It is recommended that, in order to be in compliance with all statutes, non-residents transport all firearms:  Unloaded, and Enclosed in a case, and not immediately accessible or broken down in a nonfunctioning state.

     Is it legal to have ammunition in the case with the firearm?  Yes, so long as the firearm is unloaded and properly enclosed in a case. 

     I have a friend/relative who has a “conceal and carry” permit issued in the state in which they reside. Is the permit recognized in Illinois?  No. Non-residents are subject to Illinois law, restrictions, and penalties, and should be familiar with them if the non-resident plans to bring a firearm into the state of Illinois”.

     Would our founding fathers have told anyone that they could not keep a loaded firearm on their person, on their horse or carriage, or in their travels?  Absolutely not!  They understood that an unloaded firearm was useless.  Why shouldn’t Illinoisans, and other law abiding citizens traveling through our great State, have the right to defend themselves on the roads, highways and interstates? According to the Second Amendment of “OUR” constitution, they can, and should.  Why have our politicians gone against this basic right of the people in the rest of the United States?  Don’t Illinoisians deserve the right to defend themselves where ever they are?

     Criminals and crazies will always gain access to weapons, usually by stealing them, and they will ignore laws.  Law Enforcement Officials and other citizens have nothing to fear from law abiding citizens who are armed.  Police are often like the cavalry, arriving too late to protect the unarmed.  Remember, there are only a few officers sometimes covering many square miles especially in rural areas like Johnson County.  Things can happen at anytime and any place.  No one wakes up and thinks today they will be assaulted, attacked, robbed, raped or murdered.  How many kidnappings could have been prevented if the victim had an accessible firearm in reach?  How many assaults, sexual assaults, rapes, robberies, murders and other violent crimes could be prevented?  How many innocent law abiding citizens could and would protect themselves, their spouses, children and grandchildren, if legally allowed to on our roads, streets, highways and interstates?

     Fact is violent crimes have gone down in every single state that allows their citizens to either openly carry or to carry concealed firearms.  Why is Illinois waiting?  Many will argue that guns will needlessly go off, or armed citizens will become vigilantes.  Guns do not just go off, and they do require proper training to use.  I have carried guns most of my life, and have never had an accidental discharge (there really is no such thing) the gun will only fire if proper pressure is applied to the trigger.  As for the vigilante issue, we already have laws for the unlawful use of guns.  Some will say they will needlessly endanger our children and grandchildren. This can only be the case if the gun owner is careless and leaves the gun where children can get to it unsupervised.  I was taught at a very early age (pre-school) by my father and older brother how to use and how not to use a gun.  I knew the difference between it, and my toy guns, just like our founding father’s children did.  I also knew where they were kept, and when I was able to use the guns.  I also was always supervised, until my Dad and brother were satisfied I was mature enough to use them on my own.  Guns do require proper care and training to use, this is vital.   Please consider contacting your government officials and urge them to change these laws and put us back the way our constitution and our founding fathers intended.   I believe the right to carry a weapon either openly or concealed, should be a personal one. 

Respectfully Submitted,