HILLSDALE, IL (IRN) – A freshman Illinois state representative will do his best to make sure lawmakers from urban and suburban areas understand the role guns play in rural parts of Illinois.

State Rep. Mike Smiddy (D-Hillsdale) is on the Firearms Working Group created by the lieutenant governor. He says he’ll try to educate his fellow lawmakers on the purpose guns serve in the rural parts of the state.

“I think educating our colleagues down in Springfield is the biggest thing that we can do,” Smiddy said. “I come from a rural community and we do have these types of weapons out on the farms and they’re used for sport and for hunting and we need to make sure that everything we do in Springfield is reflective of the whole State of Illinois and not just the City of Chicago.”

Some of those guns, like the popular AR-15 rifle, are viewed negatively by many lawmakers that serve urban and suburban districts. Smiddy says he understands the concern.

“Now, I understand the large concern that we have here in [Chicago], and don’t get me wrong on that, and I want to make sure that any law that is being passed is going to take those concerns into account but we also need to make sure that the Downstate is also listened to on this issue,” Smiddy said.

According to the FBI, nationally in 2010, rifles were used in 358 murders and shotguns in 373 murders. That pales in comparison to the 6,009 handgun murders in 2010. In fact, there were more people murdered in 2010 by use of hands, fists and feet (745) than rifles and shotguns combined.


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