*UPDATE March 18, 2014:
Bruce Rauner has won the republican nomination, and will face the incumbent Pat Quinn in the general election.
As election season closes in, and concealed carry is the law in the Land of Lincoln, many wonder about potential Illinois governors. The candidates, two Democrat and four Republican, are all anxious to weigh in on the new concealed carry legislation and the roll-out to the gun owners of Illinois. The candidates response to the new court mandated legislation will be a defining point to many voters on both sides of the aisle. Let’s break down some statements from each gubernatorial candidate, some more telling than others.
First up the incumbent governor of Illinois who attempted to veto the concealed carry legislation, Pat Quinn.
Pat Quinn (D):
The Illinois governor fought the concealed carry bill throughout the process, delaying, vetoing, and attempting to exclude Chicago from the effects of the new legislation. He was quoted in saying:
“This is about public safety. I think that public safety should never be compromised, never be negotiated away.”
Quinn’s “common sense” changes to the concealed carry bill were overturned, and now gun owners have a legal option of concealing a handgun alongside the criminals.
Tio Hardiman (D):
Democrat candidate Hardiman is as close to a liberal who supports concealed carry as you get in this primary race. He understands that the crime statistics don’t support the opinions of many Illinois democrats, and that Illinois gun owners to have a legitimate right in the 2nd Ammendment. He was quoted in saying:
“I cannot penalize, not with a good conscience, penalize legal gun owners for the violence problem in Illinois. There’s no data to back it up. So if people would like to exercise their right to the Second Amendment, they should be able to do so.”
In stark contrast to Quinn’s “common sense” statement, Hardiman shows his willingness to use his own common sense and stray from the party line as Illinois governor.
Bill Brady (R):
Republican candidate Brady wants Illinois legislators to take a step back and relinquish some freedom back to the citizens of Illinois. He was quoted in saying:
“We also have to understand that this is about public safety and driving down crime. We know that in every state where concealed carry took place, crime went down. And we need to give our citizens the opportunity to protect themselves and watch crime go down.”
Brady supports legal gun owners in Illinois in being able to protect themselves and families against violent crime.
Kirk Dillard (R):
Republican candidate Dillard wants Illinois citizens and legislators to “wait and see”. He was quoted in saying:
“Illinois is the last state in America to allow people to protect themselves. It took the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals to force the state of Illinois to allow people to have the same right they had in all 49 other states, … I think we ought to wait and see how this law unfurls for a while before we make any changes, pro or con, to it.”
Dillard has yet to make up his mind on which way to go with concealed carry in Illinois. His neutral stance aims not to offend, yet doesn’t attract voters from either side of the aisle.
Bruce Rauner (R):
Republican candidate Rauner supports Illinois citizens right to own firearms. He was quoted in saying:
“I think concealed carry was long overdue. Gun ownership is an important constitutional right. We should end the approach that many politicians take in Illinois and that is to blame our crime problems on gun ownership.”
Rauner recognizes our crime rate is a result of Illinois’ high unemployment, understaffed police stations, and poor schools, not legal gun ownership.
Dan Rutherford (R):
Republican candidate Rutherford recognizes a problem for Illinois gun owners and wants to correct find a solution. He was quoted in saying:
“If I was king of the forest or if I was the governor and I was able to help influence it, it would be a different bill than what it was. I think what we need to be very, very sensitive to, though, is the evolution of this. The evolution could be, as you suggested, perhaps making it better and more enhancing. But as well an evolution could also put us backwards if we don’t have the right people in the governor’s office, we don’t have the right people in the General Assembly. One of the performance reviews that I will be doing is with regards to State Police. Why does it take so long to process a FOID card? Why does it take so long to process the application for your concealed carry? Those are unacceptable.”
Rutherford realizes the concealed carry debate and legislation is a work in progress for both sides. He proposes having him in the governors office will move things in the right direction.
This is a very brief outline of one issue on the minds of many Illinois citizens from the left to the right. Illinois faces many tough issues in the coming election and concealed carry will be one of the defining issues along with the budget, pension reform, and unemployment. Incumbent Illinois governor Quinn has a lot to answer for, huge debt, failing pension system, all time high unemployment, and failing his party on concealed carry.
Remember the fight for and against concealed carry in Illinois is NOT over. Both sides are continuing the fight to further their agenda, while both sides are on the side of safety and protection of Illinois citizens. Who will you vote for, and who stands to best support your view of Illinois concealed carry?