DeBlog - Concealed carry supporters continue fight

Staff Writer
Woodford Times

A concealed carry rally is planned for 3 to 5 p.m. Saturday in downtown Peoria.

Guns are a potent issue locally.

The U.S. Supreme Court recently struck down Chicago's anti-gun law. And, Peoria is quickly approaching 100 shootings this year. 

And Mayor Jim Ardis’ desire to allow concealed carry of handguns in the city limits keeps chugging along.

Ardis made his position clear Dec. 29, 2010 when he 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). 

In a memo to the legislators was the following language: “Enact an ordinance permitting citizens the right to carry a concealed weapon in a responsible manner.  This would be an opportunity for (the general assembly) to enact a concealed-carry ordinance in the City of Peoria for a test period to see if there is a reduction in crime.”

Ardis addressed the legislators saying 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 whose carrying.”

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

Risinger said he would float a couple of bills in the Senate to see if that gets the topic discussed. But, 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 fought off an armed robber at his bakery not long before the meeting - nodded, but smiled.

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

Perhaps the time is drawing nearer for a showdown on this topic.

Illinois and Wisconsin are the only states in the union who do not allow concealed carry.

It is time for a legislative showdown and to let the voters know where our legislators really stand on this issue.