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Jackson County Board May 22

Jackson County residents packed a courtroom at the Jackson County Courthouse Tuesday night to express their support for the Second Amendment. 

MURPHYSBORO — An impassioned crowd packed the Jackson County Courthouse in Murphysboro on Tuesday, with many there to express their  support for the Second Amendment.

The Jackson County Board intended to host a discussion of a possible resolution in support of several pieces of gun legislation under consideration by state legislators in Springfield.

Board Chairman John Rendleman said he was kicking the resolution back to the Legislative and Public Safety Committee for more discussion. A proponent of the resolution, board member Julie Peterson, was not in attendance Tuesday night, and Rendleman said some of the language in the bills has changed since the committee most recently spoke about them.

In recent weeks, several Southern Illinois counties have passed or considered resolutions in opposition to that same legislation, calling themselves "gun sanctuaries."

The proposed state bills are HB1465, HB1467, HB1468, HB1469, and SB1657. All of the bills would more tightly regulate firearms in Illinois; changes proposed in the bills include raising the age to purchase an assault weapon, banning bump stocks and trigger cranks, and creating a size limit for gun magazines.

The governor has vetoed HB1468 and SB1657. HB1468 has been placed on the amendatory veto calendar. The Senate bill veto stands as of Tuesday. The other bills are still circulating the general assembly.

Southern Illinois legislators Terri Bryant, Dave Severin, Natalie Phelps Finnie, Dale Fowler and Paul Schimpf have voted in opposition to all of the bills listed in the gun sanctuary resolutions.

There were 22 speakers Tuesday who spoke in opposition of the proposed legislation in Springfield. When asked if there was anybody in support of the legislation, a man's voice from the back from the courtroom shouted, “Anybody want to give up your guns?”

Before and after each speaker in opposition, there was encouraging applause from the crowd.

Rick Pierson from Murphysboro said he swore to uphold the Constitution from enemies, foreign and domestic.

“Our Second Amendment says it is our right to own and use guns, and you can’t infringe on those rights,” he said. “I would recommend to the county board that you drop this crap.

“Because every time that you write something up, there’s going to be hundreds of us.”

Bryan Ingram, who said he owns a gun shop in the county, said he has sold thousands of guns and not one has killed or hurt anybody that he knows about.

“We don’t need gun control. We need idiot control,” he said.

Bill Ripley of Ava said was he has been a gun dealer for 40 years and never had a problem.

“This Second Amendment is extremely important to each every one of us,” he said. “It gives them the right to carry, to have that security in their own homes.”

He said people can’t expect the police to respond in time and the Second Amendment gives the person the right to protect themselves in an emergency.

County Board member Emily Burke, who put a call out for residents to voice their concern for this matter on social media, thanked everybody who showed up at the courthouse Tuesday.

“Make no mistake, there was a resolution that was discussed and sent to the full board and you are a part of that discussion tonight,” she said. “It only took one no vote (her own) and courthouse full of outstanding citizens to defeat this worthless resolution.”

Laurie Nehring, board member, said the Jackson County Board has no authority over gun laws, as it follows state and federal regulation.

“This is a complete waste of our time,” she said. “I am so disappointed we are talking about this today and not talking about the issues that matter in this county.”

Resolutions passed in other counties don't have any actual legal backing, but several supporters have said the resolutions send a message to legislators in Springfield. 

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Dustin Duncan is a reporter for The Southern Illinoisan covering Carbondale.

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