Pike County, Illinois residents up in arms over concealed carry

Voters in Pike County, Ill. will have the chance to take up a Second Amendment issue in the upcoming election.

Residents there will vote on a concealed carry issue on March 20.

The issue includes an ordinance to the Constitution Carry of Arms, which references guns and other weapons.

"You have a complete ban, a complete infringement of a fundamental natural right to keep and bear arms. That is where the issue is," Dr. Dan Mefford, a chiropractor in Pittsfield said.

Mefford and Rick Rodhouse say they are tired of waiting for state legislators to make a move on these issues, so they're going around them.

Right now, gun owners are allowed to carry an unloaded gun in a case. Mefford says the state's law infringes on his right to buy and openly bear arms. He says Illinois residents shouldn't have to apply for a Firearms Owner's ID, or FOID card, which is necessary before buying and carrying a gun.

"It's kind of aggravating when you have someone from five states away come to our county, which is a big hunting county, and they can go down to the gas station and drop a driver's license on the counter and buy anything they want," Mefford said.

In November, they petitioned for the right to carry a gun to be put on the county ballot in March. No objections were made on the issue so the vote will go to the people.

It's still unclear what a majority vote would mean for the county, but Mefford says concealed carry is a constitutional right and that his efforts will make the issue more prominent in Illinois.

Hear more of what Mefford had to say in his raw interview above.

Lawmakers in Springfield are looking to pass similar gun legislation. According to Illinois Statehouse News, a plan to let people in Illinois pack a pistol is once again headed to the full Illinois House. But it's a long way from becoming a law. A House committee in Springfield okayed the latest attempt at concealed carry Tuesday afternoon.

The legislation would allow sheriffs in the state's 102 counties to issue concealed-carry permits. People â?? those without a criminal record â?? would pay $65 to apply for the permit and complete firearms training.

Southern Illinois Democrat Brandon Phelps says it is about time Illinois allows people who get a license and pass a criminal background check to carry a concealed handgun.

Phelps has had legislation get this far in the past, only to see Chicago area lawmakers shoot down concealed carry. But Phelps says after some pro-gun right court decisions and the upcoming election, he thinks Illinois may have concealed carry soon.

Hear what Phelps had to say during Tuesday's interview here.

Phelps' plan now has to sit for a final vote in the House, but there is nothing scheduled yet. Lawmakers voted down a similar concealed carry proposal last year with. It will take 71 votes â?? not a simple majority of 60 â?? for the House to approve concealed carry. Lawmakers decided long ago that a statewide concealed-carry law would pre-empt local laws.

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