Illinios Sheriffs’ Association supports defensive firearm carry

I have to admit, this news took me very much by (very pleasant) surprise.

For the first time since it was founded in 1928, the Illinois Sheriffs’ Association announced its support for a concealed-carry handgun law in Illinois.

I tend to be pretty hard on the “Only Ones,” because I have no patience or tolerance for the kind of attitude that holds private citizens as unqualified to have with them at all times the tools to defend their lives, their families, and their liberty. These sheriffs, though, clearly bring a much different attitude to the job.

The association also appointed Henry County Sheriff Gib Cady as its president for 2009. Sheriff Cady has been a strong proponent of concealed-carry in Illinois.

‘We are constitutional officers for the people and the people want this,’ Sheriff Cady said.

It would seem that their choice of association president was a wise one, as well.

Astonishingly, the vote in favor of the resolution of support for defensive firearm carry for private citizens was unanimous.

Mr. Sullivan said at least 60 sheriffs attended this week’s conference. Although he did not have the vote total, Mr. Sullivan said the group unanimously supported the call for a concealed-carry handgun law.

Granted, “at least 60” is probably rather fewer than the total number (one-hundred two) of sheriffs in the state–Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart would probably sooner support legalized cannibalism before trusting the lowly private citizens with firearms in public, for example.

Still, 90% of the respondents is nothing to sneeze at.

The association’s resolution noted it surveyed Illinois sheriffs on the issue, and 90 percent of those responding “support concealed carry in Illinois if adequate training and safeguards are included.”

Obviously, the “adequate training and safeguards” could be a fly in the ointment. I’m from the school of thought that says licensing of, and administrative requirements for, the exercise of a fundamental right is . . . fundamentally wrong, but Alaska/Vermont style carry laws are a long way from reality here in Illinois, and I suppose I need to acknowledge that.

Here are some of the details the sheriffs want.

Those suggestions included having a state agency issuing permits “to insure consistency in evaluation and screening.”

The legislative committee also recommended individuals receive adequate training, “including basic knowledge of firearms, the proper handling of a firearm, live fire exercises for range qualification, instruction and testing on use of force as a citizen including the liability of that use.”

It suggested applications be processed by county sheriff offices, “including the ability of the sheriff to articulate specific reasons why the permit should be denied and those objections should be considered by the state before issuing a permit.”

The committee also suggested a concealed carry permit be an identifiable code that shows a person’s driver’s license, Firearm Owner’s Identification Card and state identification.

That’s rather a lot of suggestions, and I can imagine a number of peaceable, and otherwise law-abiding, citizens being unwilling to go through all that (and also be unwilling to be rendered defenseless).

Still, if something like this becomes law, Illiniosans have an option beyond the choice between defenselessness and criminality. I’d have to call that progress.

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