SHELBYVILLE, IL. — Shelby County has become the 11th county in the state to support concealed carry for its citizens.
Sheriff Michael Miller, State’s Attorney Gina Vonderheide, and other local law enforcement personnel announced Monday afternoon their decision to follow other counties in not prosecuting those in the county who can legally possess a firearm and have a valid FOID card.
“This decision does not allow or encourage Shelby County citizens to travel outside of Shelby County with a concealed weapon,” Miller said. “If you are planning to carry a concealed weapon outside of Shelby County, please check with officials from that jurisdiction, prior to leaving, to determine their enforcement of concealed carry.”
The State of Illinois is the only state not allowing concealed carry at the present time. House Bill 183 is awaiting Governor Pat Quinn’s signature.
“We expect him to veto the bill, but there is enough support in both Houses to override the veto,” said Tim Bowyer of IllinoisCarry.com.
Bowyer added that there has been a “huge increase in the number of FOID card applications in anticipation of the passage.
Shelby County joins Woodford, Peoria, Tazewell, Logan, Macon, Piatt, Madison, Randolph, Edwards and White counties in support of concealed carry in their counties. Another 10 counties are considering the action, while six counties have said “no” to concealed carry.
“I am thankful to have public officials who listen to the people,” Bowyer said.
“Citizens have a constitutional right to keep and bear arms,” said Shelbyville Police Chief David Tallman.
Miller suggests that if you are stopped and are carrying a concealed weapon to advise the officer that you have a concealed weapon.
“State Police will have to abide by the state law as is,” said Shelby County State’s Attorney Gina Vonderheide. She added that though she probably will not prosecute such cases, they will have to be considered on an individual basis.
“I would have the discretion not to prosecute,” she said.
Law enforcement officers and the State’s Attorney has been considering this measure for a while, but the decisions by Madison and Macon counties moved the idea along.
“I spoke with the sheriff of Macon County regarding this move. Now is the right time,” Miller said.
This decision will be valid until the enactment of concealed carry legislation with the State of Illinois. At that time a public statement will be issued terminating this policy and requiring all persons to comply with all aspects of the concealed carry law.