The hotly contested debate over the concealed carry of firearms continues to rage in Illinois, the only state in the United States where the practice is currently illegal.
In December, the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago struck down a state law prohibiting citizens from carrying concealed weapons, giving lawmakers until June 9 to pass a new concealed carry law with “reasonable limitations,” according to NBCChicago.com.
At the end of May, the Illinois General Assembly signed off on a new bill allowing concealed carry. However, the June 9 deadline has passed without the signature of Gov. Pat Quinn, which is required for the new law to be put into effect, and officials are beginning to take matters into their own hands, says The Christian Science Monitor.
Jeremy Walker, the State’s Attorney for Randolph County, said on Tuesday that he would not prosecute citizens who carry concealed weapons 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,” his statement read.
"June 9 has come and gone with no resolution," Walker said. "Accordingly, I feel it is time to act."
The move comes just five days after Madison County State Attorney Tom Gibbons issued a similar proclamation. "As this process dragged on in Springfield, with all sides working very hard on it, we had to do something," he told the Associated Press.
Governor Quinn issued the following statement about the proposed legislation allowing concealed carry in Illinois:
“This legislation is wrong for Illinois. It was wrong yesterday in committee, it’s wrong today, and it’s wrong for the future of public safety in our state. The principle of home rule is an important one. As written, this legislation is a massive overreach that would repeal critical gun safety ordinances in Chicago, Cook County, and across Illinois. We need strong gun safety laws that protect the people of our state. Instead, this measure puts public safety at risk. I will not support this bill and I will work with members of the Illinois Senate to stop it in its tracks.”
The issue of concealed carry has been the subject of fierce debate in Illinois, as the state battles rising violent crime numbers. Last year, there were 506 homicides in the city of Chicago alone, according to the Huffington Post.