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Clinton County Sheriff Sides With State’s Attorney on Concealed Carry

Maria Keena
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An excerpt from Sheriff Mike Kreke's letter, in regards to concealed carry weapons possession in Clinton County, Illinois. (KMOX/Bill Reker)

An excerpt from Sheriff Mike Kreke’s letter, in regards to concealed carry weapons possession in Clinton County, Illinois. (KMOX/Bill Reker)

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CARLYLE, Ill. (KMOX) – The sheriff of Clinton County, Illinois has issued a statement on concealed carry, following the Madison County State’s Attorney’s decision not to prosecute any cases on the matter.

Sheriff Mike Kreke says his department “will honor all other state and local jurisdiction’s right-to-carry laws,” until the state of Illinois or Clinton County enacts a law.

In an announcement to law enforcement and the public Thursday, State’s Attorney Tom Gibbons in neighboring Madison County opened the door for citizens in the county to carry concealed firearms if they meet specific conditions:

1. Must be issued and possess a valid F.O.I.D. card or, if not an Illinois resident, a valid concealed carry permit from a state that performs a background check prior to issuance of the permit;

2. Must be carrying the firearm for self-defense;

3. Must not be prohibited from possession of a firearm under another statute or court order;

4. Must keep the firearm concealed on their person or in their vehicle, not visible to the public;

5. Must not be engaged in any criminal conduct;

6. Must be in compliance with all other federal, state and local laws and ordinances;

7. Must, when asked, inform law enforcement officers of the firearm when in contact with an officer in the course of their duties.

The announcement by Gibbons warranted a response Friday by the Illinois State Police, Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police, and Illinois Sheriff’s Association. The groups announced that those who carry an accessible or loaded firearm are still subject to arrest.

“The Illinois State Police, Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police, and the Illinois Sheriff’s Association issued a public safety advisory in response to numerous inquiries from citizens to the Illinois State Police Firearm Services Bureau, that it will continue to enforce Illinois’ current unlawful use of a weapon statute in all jurisdictions.

Current Illinois law prohibits the carrying of an immediately accessible or loaded firearm on your person or in your vehicle regardless of whether it is concealed. Persons in violation are subject to arrest.”

In the wake of the Illinois State Police advisory, Gibbons on Friday reiterated his refusal to prosecute those found to be carrying a concealed weapon in Madison County, leaving residents in a legal limbo whereby they could still be arrested by police for having a firearm but would not be prosecuted by Gibbons’ office.

Alton Police spokesperson Emily Hejna illustrated the confusion Friday, claiming her department doesn’t have an official position on the controversy yet and likely won’t for the next week. She added that Alton police likely won’t arrest anyone with a handgun who fits the state’s attorney’s criteria for concealed carry but says she can’t guarantee it.

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