Gun totin' on agenda

DeWayne Bartels

Mayor Jim Ardis’ desire to allow concealed carry of handguns in the city limits made its way to the ears of area legislators. 

Ardis and several other Peoria City Council members met with State Rep. David Leitch (R-Peoria); State Rep. Don Moffitt (R-Gilson); State Sen. Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) and State Sen. Dale Risinger (R-Peoria) Dec. 29 to discuss the city’s legislative agenda for 2010. State Rep. Jehan Gordon (D-Peoria) was absent. 

Concealed carry was at the top of the list. Ardis said he wants to get the conversation on this topic started in Springfield. Ardis said he is convinced enacting a test in the city would reduce crime because the “bad guys don’t know who is carrying.”

Ardis told the legislators Illinois — one of only two states that does not allow concealed carry — is way behind the times, and that concealed carry would not turn Peoria into the “Wild West.”

Risinger said Chicago Mayor Richard Daley’s objection to concealed carry is not the only hurdle. The National Rifle Association wants to see concealed carry allowed statewide. And, Risinger said, if the state did allow a test of concealed carry, Peoria County Sheriff Mike McCoy wants the test to cover the entire county.

Ardis said he has been receiving a good deal of feedback about his effort across the state and the entire Midwest.

Koehler told Ardis the effort faces an uphill battle because of Chicago’s objection. Moffitt said he was willing to help the effort.

“It’s going to be very challenging,” Leitch said.

Koehler — who recently fought off an armed robber at his bakery — nodded, but smiled.

“I live in a concealed carry neighborhood,” he said.