WINNEBAGO COUNTY - Concealed carry
meets its fate tonight at the
Jim Webster, R-District 2, authored the concealed carry ordinance put forth at Wednesday night's meeting. He hoped to answer the call from petitioners that sent more than 11,000 signatures to the county board last month asking for them to enact a local conceal carry law.
passionately, but the meeting was predominantly empty in the
"Trying to pass an ordinance that would contravene, in other words that would basically make carrying a concealed weapon not an aggravated unlawful use of a weapon, you just can't do that," said Kurlinkus. "The state law trumps local ordinance."
All public safety committee members say they're in favor of a concealed carry law, but not when it could put the county in some serious legal trouble. A memorandum sent to the county board from the state's attorney's office addressed those serious legal issues, which include issues with the legalities of creating a local law, the civil liabilities doing that would entail and the potential for misconduct by the county board if indeed they went through with it. With all of this information in the open, the committee voted to table the issue.
"Tabling it is out of respect for Jim Webster," said Rick Pollack, R-District 13, chairman of the public safety committee.
tabling the ordinance is quite possibly the worst thing the committee could
have done if they wanted there to be a future for a conceal carry statute in
"If he [Pollack] would have made a motion and got a second to lay it over that would have helped me because when you have a layover there's a date on there when you lay it over to," said Webster.
"When you lay something on the table, it is there indefinitely until some member of that committee decides to pull it off the table and decides to discuss it again."
Conceal carry proponents, although disappointed, hope the resolution passed at tonight's meeting will help the cause of HB 6225, a bill aimed at creating reciprocity for conceal carry laws in other states. Advocates also hold out hope for two civil lawsuits against the state, both challenging the constitutionality of the state's ban on concealed weapons.