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      McDonough County residents aiming for concealed carry

      A total of 751 signatures are needed to put a concealed carry question in McDonough County to a vote on the November ballot.

      Several McDonough County residents are pursuing the same gun initiative that passed in March in Pike County.

      "I watched Pike County in its election to pass the ordinance for Constitutional Carry, found out that they did and the next morning I tried to find out how they did it and came across Dan Mefford's name," Jason Kreps, a Macomb resident said.

      That same morning, Kreps began working on a petition, very similar to the one Pittsfield Chiropractor Dan Mefford had initiated in Pike County, Illinois. More than 250 people have signed their name to the petition asking, "shall McDonough County, Illinois adopt the Constitutional Carry of Arms ordinance to increase public safety?"

      A total of 751 signatures are needed to put that question to a vote on the November ballot.

      "Forty-nine other states have adopted concealed carry," Clay Hinderliter said. "I just don't know why Illinois has not."

      "That's an easy one," Kreps said. "Chicago, Ill. They're their own monster. The 51st state."

      Right now, Illinois residents like Clay Hinderliter must own a Firearm Owners Identification card to possess a gun. The card only allows a resident to carry the weapon unloaded, in a case, separate from its ammunition.

      "It takes about six seconds to get that into action if you need it, which means if you're going to be in trouble, you need to be very aware of what's around you," Hinderliter said. "I can protect myself at home, but right now, I do not have the ability to protect myself away from home."

      It's the same argument Kreps makes, an issue that hit too close to home years ago.

      "I had a father figure of seven years that was shot at Zeta here in Macomb," Kreps said. "If criminals even thought that most civilians were armed, or able to protect themselves, they wouldn't attack those people. We're just easy targets here," Kreps said.

      Meanwhile, some McDonough County residents have voiced their opposition to any type of gun initiative in their hometown. You can read a letter that one couple wrote to the editor of the McDonough County Voice here . In their letter, David and Sally Egler wrote, "by creating more fear and advocating more guns to protect us from each other, the whole notion of working together in a community is damaged. Instead of trusting our designated law enforcers, concealed carry legislation promotes vigilantes. That harms a sense of safety in the community. We oppose such legislation."

      What do you think about the gun initiative coming to McDonough County? Would it make you feel safer to carry a loaded gun or do you feel this would only create more problems for law enforcement and the public? Do you think your county would take on a concealed carry vote? Let us know below and on Facebook here .

      If you would like more information about this topic, Kreps is available for questions at 309-333-6470 or he can be emailed at: kreppyskustoms@hotmail.com . Petitions can be signed at Kreppy's Kustoms, Blades, Crooked Creek Outdoors, Schmitz Plumbing and Electrical, Allenhouse, Connor Company, Minus Muffler, Middle Earth and Dane Metcalf.