Harry Tuttle
September 24, 2004, 04:15 PM
[Thu Sep 23 2004]

WILLIAMSON COUNTY -- Ron Summers said if he is elected to the State Senate in the 59th District he would call for an amendment of the Illinois Constitution as it refers to gun rights.

The Illinois Consti- tution, article 1, section 22, gives Illinois residents the right to bear arms, with a qualification that reads, "Subject only to the police power, the right of the individual citizen to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."

The language makes it possible for towns and cities in Illinois to ban firearms, something the Republican Summers said is a direct infringement on Second Amendment rights.

"The reason we don't have uniformity in Illinois law is because in 1970 the words, 'subject only to police power' were added to the constitution," Summers said. "I am advocating for an amendment to the constitution that will eliminate this patchwork and take away the ability of communities to ban the possession of all firearms. I think we need to restore our Second Amendment rights to the Illinois citizens."

Sen. Ed Petka, R-Plainfield, joined Summers at the press conference at the Williamson County Airport Thursday. He said it would be difficult to get an constitutional amendment approved because the legislature is under the control of the city of Chicago and the influence of the city's Mayor Richard Daley.

"Get rid of this very dreaded phrase. 'Police power' means that any community can ban possession of any firearms in the state," Petka said. "It is important that we take away the ability of politically correct communities to ban fire arms."

Petka introduced Senate Bill 2165, which would make self-defense a justification for violating a local gun ordinance. The bill was vetoed by Gov. Rod Blagojevich on Aug. 20.

Petka proposed the legislation in response to an incident that occurred when a Wilmette man faced charges for using a gun to defend his home against a burglar.

Summers' opponent in the 59 Senate District race, Sen. Gary Forby, D-Benton, was also a co-sponsor of SB 2165.

John Charles, spokesman for the Forby campaign, said the plan to make a constitutional change is far reaching and unlikely to happen. He said the same opportunity exists to protect citizens through legislation.

"He is already working very closely with the NRA on legislation to accomplish the goal of keeping municipalities from using a state constitutional provision to ban guns," Charles said. "After speaking with the NRA the most pressing priority is SB 2165, which can be overturned in the veto session."

Charles said Forby has been working hard for Second Amendment right since his appointment to the state senate and that is why he won the National Rifle Association endorsement for the upcoming Nov. 2 election.

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Henry Bowman
September 24, 2004, 04:47 PM
What were the circumstances and justifications put forth in 1970 to support the addition of the "Subject only to the police power" phrase? Wasn't there some unpleasantness surrounding a political convention in a large Illinois city not long before then?

September 24, 2004, 07:24 PM
The phrases "CONSTITUTION" and "SUBJECT TO POLICE POWERS" should never at any given time be spoke in the same breath and written on the same paper.

And people actully (sic) ask me why a fled IL. after six months and refuse to ever re-enter.

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