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Concealed carry bill: Illinois prosecutor 'goes rogue,' allows concealed carry

Concealed carry bill: An Illinois prosecutor jumps the gun, saying he won't prosecute carriers of concealed weapons in his county. Illinois is the only state in the US without a concealed carry law.

By Contributor / June 12, 2013

Diondai Brown-Whitfield, of Chicago, center right, embraces Gov. Pat Quinn before he addresses a rally of gun control advocates in front of the state capitol in April 2013.

Rich Saal/The State Journal-Register/AP

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An Illinois prosecutor is refusing to prosecute carriers of concealed weapons in his county, even though the governor is still weighing the bill that would allow concealed carry statewide. The attorney’s announcement puts him amongst a burgeoning crop of local officials nationwide who are "going rogue" in civil disobedience efforts against mounting calls for greater gun control.

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Staff Writer

Elizabeth Barber is a staff writer at The Christian Science Monitor. She holds a master’s degree from Columbia Journalism School and a bachelor’s degree in International Relations and English from SUNY Geneseo. Before coming to the Monitor, she was a freelance reporter at DNAinfo, a New York City breaking news site. She has also been an intern at The Cambodia Daily, in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, and at Washington D.C.’s The Middle East Journal.

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In May the Illinois General Assembly passed a bill that would allow state residents to have guns in public, putting an end to Illinois’ status as the only state that does not allow its citizens to do so. Without the signature of Gov. Pat Quinn, a Chicago Democrat, that bill is not yet law.

But Jeremy Walker, the State Attorney for Illinois’ Randolph County, said ahead of the governor’s pending decision on Tuesday that he would not prosecute public gun possession in his rural country, which touts the motto, “Where Illinois Began.” His statement comes just days after St. Louis' Madison County’s State Attorney made a similar announcement about his also mostly rural area.

Illinois has become a contested center in the gun control debate, as high rates of gun violence in roiling Chicago has focused national attention there. Governor Quinn has previously voiced opposition to a concealed carry law in his state.

"This legislation is wrong for Illinois," said Quinn said in a statement after the Illinois Assembly passed the concealed carry bill, Senate Bill 2193. "We need strong gun safety laws that protect the people of our state. Instead, this measure puts public safety at risk."

“I will not support this bill and I will work with members of the Illinois Senate to stop it in its tracks,” he said.

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