CHESTER, Ill. (KMOX) – Randolph County State’s Attorney Jeremy Walker has become the latest Illinois official to declare concealed carry will be allowed in his county.
“The Randolph County State’s Attorney’s Office is announcing responsible, law-abiding citizens will finally be able to exercise their constitutional right to carry concealed weapons in Randolph County,” Walker said in a prepared statement Tuesday.
In an announcement to law enforcement and the public last week, Madison County State’s Attorney Tom Gibbons opened the door for citizens to begin carrying concealed firearms. The announcement was quickly refuted by the Illinois State Police, Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police, and Illinois Sheriff’s Association which said Friday that persons who carry an accessible or loaded firearm are still subject to arrest.
“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,” the groups announced. “Persons in violation are subject to arrest.”
Gibbons on Thursday announced seven guidelines for those wanting to carry firearms in Madison County. Tuesday, Walker issued a similar list:
- The person must have a valid Firearm Owners Identification Cars (FOID);
- The person must not be prohibited from possessing a firearm under any Court Order or Statute;
- The firearm must be concealed on the person, or in a vehicle;
- The person must not be engaged in any criminal conduct;
- If stopped by a police officer, the person must immediately notify the officer if he or she is carrying a weapon;
- The person may not carry a weapon in the courthouse, any school or any church.
The decisions by Gibbons and Walker come in the wake of a U.S. Court of Appeals decision that requires Illinois lawmakers to create concealed-carry legislation. A bill is awaiting Gov. Pat Quinn’s signature.
Joining Gibbons and Walker in their refusal to enforce the state’s concealed carry ban is Clinton County Sheriff Mike Kreke who announced his stance Saturday.
Alton Police spokeswoman Emily Hejna told KMOX News last week that her department doesn’t have any official position on the controversy. She added that Alton police probably 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.
The conflicting announcements from prosecutors and police have left gun owners in the Metro East in legal limbo. Bob Bollman, owner of The Gun Shoppe in Highland, says the dispute has a lot of his customers coming in and asking questions.
“They’re very confused,” he says. “They’re going, ‘what could happen? What should we do?’”