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Several counties in Illinois becoming gun sanctuaries, Clark County could be next

Clark County is proposing to create a gun sanctuary county.

Posted: May 18, 2018 6:29 PM
Updated: May 18, 2018 6:53 PM

CLARK COUNTY, Ill. (WTHI) - Clark County is proposing to create a gun sanctuary county.

It's the norm for several counties in Illinois already, like Jasper, Jefferson, Effingham, and more, as many have already passed resolutions.

"It is simply a statement that we are not interested in unconstitutional laws that are affecting our right and keep and bear arms," said William Smoot, Clark County resident.

Clark County leaders held a meeting Friday to vote on the gun sanctuary resolution, but the proposal was tabled to next month.

The resolution would make Clark County a sanctuary county for all firearms.

Right now, Illinois is considering legislation that would limit some gun ownership.

A sanctuary means current gun owners would be protected.

"It's not going to help us at all to fight crime and solve the problems from the areas in Chicago," said Smoot.

However, small business owner William Behnke Sr. is worried.

He owns Lost Creek Trading Post in Marshall, IL.

He says he could lose money and may have to make some tough decisions.

"If it gets too cumbersome or burdensome, I'd reconsider and possibly just close this location and re-open in Indiana where they don't have these laws," said Behnke.

Some are blaming Chicago for the problems.

They say state legislators are trying to pass more restrictive laws.

These sanctuary counties feel they need to protect themselves from those laws.

"People are leaving Southern Illinois in groves because of the policies up North. That is a statistical fact and the census proves it," said Warren LeFever, Clark County resident.

Behnke says he feels guns shouldn't be to blame for violence, but instead, laws should be stricter.

"The laws are not being enforced as far as the penalties that are imposed for those violations," said Behnke.

Smoot is a part-time employee for Behnke. He hopes the shop will continue to be in Illinois.

"I want to see the shop prosper, and grow and grow. To affect a small business owner is not a good thing. Not only in firearms but any small business," said Smoot.

Clark County will make their final decision in June at their next meeting.

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