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Discussion Starter · #1 ·

BLOOMINGTON – McLean County interim State’s Attorney Ron Dozier is taking steps to get concealed carry in the state, by no longer charging offenders with unlawful use of a weapon if that person has a valid FOID card.
In an e-mail obtained by WJBC, Dozier said he has been quietly changing policies of the office since he took over in December to bring them in accordance with the U.S. Supreme Court.
He said certain questions will be asked to determine if anyone who has a valid firearms owners identification card won’t be charged with unlawful use of a weapon or aggravated unlawful use of a weapon.
“We will no longer use the power and authority of our office to criminalize and punish decent, otherwise law-abiding citizens who choose to exercise the rights granted to them by the Second Amendment of the United States’ Constitution to keep and bear arms in defense of themselves and their families,” Dozier said in the e-mail.
Dozier said there have been recent cases where his office has decided not to charge a person with a weapons crime.
“A young man from Missouri was driving down Main Street who got stopped for a traffic violation and had his .22 rifle in a rack on the back of his pickup truck which is the way that they’re required to have it in Missouri,” Dozier said. “I just felt like it was very un-neighborly to say, ‘now you’re in Illinois and you’re going to get a felony on your record.’”

Questions include:
  • What appears to be the reason or purpose for the person’s possession of carrying a firearm?
  • Was the firearm actually displayed or used for an improper purpose or in a reckless manner?
  • Was the person under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or have illegal drugs in his or her person or in their vehicle?
  • If the person is not an Illinois citizen, was the weapon possessed or carried in accordance with the laws of the State of his or her residence?
  • Is the person a member of or affiliated with any gang known to engage in illegal activities?
  • Has the person been convicted of a felony offense? If so, how long ago and for what offenses?
McLean County Sheriff Mike Emery said his department will continue to enforce state law as they exist.
“I’ve told my law enforcement staff that we still continue with our policy and enforce the laws as they exist. And, we will forward our information to the state’s attorney and it’s his decision whether he’s going to pursue charges or not,” Emery said.
Dozier said his purpose is sending a message to Gov. Pat Quinn and the legislators who, “continue to ignore the U.S. Supreme Court decisions, and who continue to oppose reasonable legislation that would bring Illinois into compliance with the Second Amendment.”

Dozier said this is his last chance to enact a policy before leaving the office.
“I know this is going to get some flack and I know that people have legitimate arguments both for and against what I’ve done, but it is a symbolic gesture. I’m not going to be here a whole lot longer,” Dozier said.
Dozier is hoping his move catches on with other state’s attorneys in Illinois.
He did stress that he is not asking anyone to disregard the laws of Illinois or the federal government with regard to firearms. He also said he has no intention of telling local law enforcement when or under what circumstances to make an arrest on firearms offenses.
“Officer safety must remain the highest priority and departmental policies must be followed,” Dozier said.
New state’s attorney to follow rule?
Dozier’s term expires in December 2012, but he plans to leave the office as early as October.
Jason Chambers, the Republican candidate for the office, who is unopposed in November, will take over at that point.
Chambers called the timing of the decision suspect. But, said he isn’t bound by Dozier’s policy.
“The thing is when I campaigned, I campaigned on a policy of every case is individual, every case needs to be looked at and I don’t have any intention of changing that policy of every case is individual and every case needs to be looked at individually,” Chambers said.
He said if police recommend someone is to be charged with a weapons charge, he’ll follow that.
Dozier said to some extent, the office is vulnerable anytime it deviates from policy.
“It’s always a conflict between trying to have predictable, standard ways of doing things yet at the same time trying to recognize that no two cases are identical,” Dozier said.
Chambers called the decision a slippery slope, for prosecutors to hand pick cases to try.
“I disagree with our state law,” Chambers said. “I support the idea of having Illinois as a concealed carry state. However, the law of the State of Illinois is law. And, the reason for that is because we want to have uniformity of laws across the state.”
Chambers said if police arrest someone on gun charges but local prosecutors won’t take the case, he said it could open the door to federal prosecution. He said there are limited circumstances, but law enforcement is a team sport.

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) -- Legal experts say the McLean County state's attorney is within his rights not to prosecute violations of Illinois gun laws that he considers unconstitutional.
Author and American University law professor Angela Davis said Wednesday that prosecutors have "absolute discretion" to decide whether to pursue charges. She says what's unusual is that McLean County State's Attorney Ronald Dozier is making a public announcement.
Dozier says he thinks the state law barring people from carrying concealed guns is unconstitutional. He hopes his policy against prosecuting harmless violations will send a message to Illinois lawmakers.
Cook County prosecutor Anita Alvarez, president of the Illinois State's Attorneys Association, says Dozier is entitled to his opinion about the law but she will continue to fully enforce the law.

BLOOMINGTON -- Despite a statewide ban on concealed weapons, gun owners in one central Illinois county don’t need to worry about facing charges because its top prosecutor is refusing to enforce a law he considers unconstitutional.
Illinois is the only state that still bans residents from carrying concealed guns. McLean County State’s Attorney Ronald Dozier said Wednesday that he hopes his policy against prosecuting harmless violations will send a message.
“I felt like I just wanted to make a statement to the legislature,” said Dozier, a retired judge who was appointed state’s attorney in December and plans to step down in October.
Legal experts say he’s completely within his rights.
As a prosecutor, Dozier has the power to decide which cases he will and won’t pursue, though it was unusual to publicly announce that a whole class of offenses is off the table, American University law professor Angela Davis said.
Also rare is basing that decision on the prosecutor’s own opinion that a law is invalid, she said.
“I’m not saying it’s never been done, but it’s certainly not common,” said Davis, author of “Arbitrary Justice: The Power of the American Prosecutor.”
Dozier believes many state’s attorneys have privately decided not to pursue charges against people who violate some of Illinois’ gun laws, such as failing to properly store a gun or allowing their state-issued Firearm Owners Identification Card to expire.
Gov. Pat Quinn suggested Wednesday that Dozier should abide by his oath of office.
“You have a duty to respect the law,” Quinn said. “If you don’t agree with the law, we have procedures where you can challenge the law properly.”
But a fellow Democrat who supports legalizing concealed carry, Rep. Brandon Phelps of Harrisburg, predicted that state’s attorneys in areas like his where guns are popular will now face pressure to follow Dozier’s lead.
“A lot of voters in those areas, especially at town hall meetings, are going to say, ‘What’s your position on what the McLean County state’s attorney did?”’ Phelps said.
Dozier said he is not urging anyone to carry a weapon or break the law, and police in the area say they will continue to arrest people if they see violations.
But in a four-page statement Tuesday, Dozier argued that state laws on where and how people can carry guns are unconstitutional under recent U.S. Supreme Court rulings.

I have the body of a god........Budda
6,260 Posts
Wish I could "double like" this post. Good for him ! Let's hope the "trend" continues.

Premium Member
4,099 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Its not just McLean County, Edwards County is on board too.

CHICAGO (FOX Chicago News) -
A prosecutor in Southern Illinois won't enforce the state's ban on carrying loaded, concealed handguns and other state's attorneys may soon announce the same policy.
State's Attorney Mike Valentine said he believes it's unconstitutional for Illinois to prohibit people from carrying loaded firearms in public. If you're otherwise law-abiding, he told Political Editor Mike Flannery by telephone, you won't face charges for packing heat in Edwards County.
Valentine said that, since he took office in 2008, no one's been prosecuted for peacefully carrying loaded firearms around Edwards County, population 6,000.
But Bloomington's McLean County, population 170,000, may soon announce a similar policy.
State's Attorney Ronald Dozier told us he's already sent a legal memo to other Illinois prosecutors explaining his belief that it's unconstitutional to ban the carrying of loaded firearms in public. Some are outraged.
"What if somebody walks into a soccer game and they have a Tek-9 pistol? Are they gonna do something or are they gonna say there's basically nothing they can do about it?" Senator Dan Kotowski asked.
"Higher law enforcement officials should look into it. I think the attorney general should look into this."
But a spokeswoman for Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan said, "We are not the boss of state's attorneys. They're independently elected. And they have discretion over the charges they prosecute."
For State Representative La Shawn Ford, this latest gun-law dispute underscores a need for quick action in Springfield.
He's proposed a trade-off: enact a ban on so-called assault weapons, while granting each county the power to make its own decision about carrying concealed handguns.
"I think that each county, because of the differences, should decide on their own. Yes."
The upcoming election is a big reason the legalizing of concealed carry is in the spotlight now. Democratic State's Attorney Mike Valentine faces a tough re-election contest in Edwards County--which is closer to Nashville, TN, than to Chicago--in more ways than one.
In McLean County, on the other hand, Republican Ron Dozier chose not to run. He'll soon step down as state's attorney and sees this as a sort of legacy.

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If it goes boom or bang, I want to play with it!
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Finally Illinois takes a (baby) step in the right direction.
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