Downstate County Declares Itself A Sanctuary For Gun Owners | WBEZ
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Morning Shift

Downstate County Declares Itself A Sanctuary For Gun Owners

A handful of Illinois counties have said they are “sanctuaries” for people concerned about their rights to own guns.

Recently, Effingham County State’s Attorney Bryan Kibler suggested that a new resolution in the downstate county adopted the sanctuary languages used by places seeking to shield undocumented immigrants from Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials.

Morning Shift host Tony Sarabia talked to Kibler about the goal of the ordinance, the gun culture in Effingham County, and how the idea is spreading.  

On the purpose of declaring a county as a ‘sanctuary’ for gun owners

Bryan Kibler: What we are trying to do is reappropriate the term “sanctuary county,” and use it as a protest to convince some legislators to not vote on some of the gun legislation pending in Springfield. Now, if some of those bills do get passed, I don’t know how they will be treated in southern Illinois. There are 102 counties in this state. One hundred and two different state’s attorneys and sheriff’s departments are all probably going to take different views on how they are going to approach it. … As it is right now, our sanctuary county ordinance is primarily symbolic.

On the role guns play in Effingham County

Kibler: There are two aspects. One is cultural. People around here have firearms in their home. They have grown up with firearms. They use them to hunt. And the other aspect is safety. A lot of people live out in the country. Law enforcement first responders would be 10 to 15 minutes away. So, firearms are often used to protect your actual home.

The cultural aspect and the safety aspect are the reason why people in Effingham County are really pro-Second Amendment. I would note as state’s attorney that very rarely do we see residential burglaries. You might have that a lot in Chicago, but down here in Effingham, it’s nonexistent because I think most people know if you are going to break into a home, you never know what you’re going to encounter from the homeowner.

On how the concept is spreading

Kibler: We’ve gotten inquiries from all over the country, not just the state of Illinois, for a copy of [the ordinance]. People have taken it and run with it. Some have adopted it completely, others have changed some terms.

We are giving it out on a daily basis. This is kind of spreading like wildfire.

On who this protest is directed at

Kibler: We actually don’t view this necessarily as a partisan issue. We just want all the members of the General Assembly to know — whether it be the Democratic side or the Republican side — that we are not going to take anymore infringements on our Second Amendment rights. And to be honest, as much as this is aimed at Democrats and [Democratic nominee J.B. Pritzker], it’s also aimed at [Gov. Bruce Rauner] to veto any of these bills that come out of the General Assembly this legislative session.

This interview has been edited for brevity and clarity. Click the “play” button to listen to the entire interview, which was adapted for the web by Bea Aldrich.

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