051905br1732-smallrsUp until a recent ruling by the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, Illinois had a prohibition on carrying a concealed weapon in public, making it the only state without some form of concealed carry. In response to that ruling, activists on both sides of the issue, members in the General Assembly and the general public have been engaged in discussions about what type of legislation should be created. And while these discussions can sometimes leave people frustrated or upset, I think they are extremely vital in educating people on firearms and necessary if we are going to craft responsible legislation.

Guns were a part of my life growing up; I began hunting at a young age and have owned many different types of firearms throughout my life. I can’t say the same for many of my colleagues in Springfield. That is why I have worked hard to educate other members on gun ownership and use, especially members who did not grow up in a rural community. Too often we interact with people who have a negative attitude toward guns or gun owners, simply because they have no experience with firearms or an understanding of the culture surrounding guns. There are many folks who are not aware of the different ways in which gun owners use their firearms or even how a firearm works. That is why it is our duty as responsible gun owners to inform others about the important aspects of owning and operating a firearm.

Earlier this week, Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon announced that 15 freshman members of the General Assembly will be part of a new Firearms Working Group created to help bridge the geographical divide on gun ownership and use in Illinois. The working group includes Republicans and Democrats who represent urban, suburban and rural districts. My hope is that at the end of the working group, these newly elected members have a better informed viewpoint on firearms and new ideas that will help craft legislation aimed at promoting gun ownership. While it may not sway them to support a concealed-carry bill, they will at least have a better understanding of firearms when voting on legislation that affects gun owners.

I will always fight to protect your constitutional right to bear arms. And I will continue to stand by Southern Illinois hunters and all Illinois’ law-abiding citizens to work on reasonable legislation that promotes and protects our rights. But I encourage you to get involved with the discussion – whether that means talking to a neighbor, a stranger or an elected official.

Category: A Weekly Update on Issues with Senator Forby

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