Gun control is one of the most hotly contested national topics. In Illinois, debate and concern around gun-related bills spawned numerous referenda throughout the state. Next month, more than a dozen rural counties across Illinois will have ballot measures asking the state to stop passing gun control laws. Iroquois County Board Chairman, John Shure, has one of them on the ballot.
“Quite frankly, our opinion, I think, in this part of the country is that law-abiding citizens are the ones that are really affected more, hurt more by that type of legislation," said Shure. "It’s pretty well been proven in the Chicago area that strict gun control is not the answer.”
Most of these are advisory referenda to let lawmakers know how a portion of the state feels about the issue.
“From what I’ve understood, there are enough counties doing it that it ought to provide a good sampling of sentiment throughout the rural parts of the state,” said Shure.
The bills that sparked concern include one signed by Gov. Bruce Rauner extending wait periods for gun purchases, as well as a more controversial one requiring gun dealers to be regulated by the state -- which the governor vetoed.
State Representative Avery Bourne and State Senate Candidate Seth McMillan aided the effort to get these on the ballot in several counties, and Shure says their state representatives also support it.
The bulk of the referenda appear in the southern part of the state, but they will also be on the ballot in the northern counties of LaSalle and Boone.
A number of them will also ask residents if they want their counties to be “sanctuary counties” for gun owners. The list of counties with proposed Second Amendment-related referenda as of now are Boone, Cumberland, Hardin, Iroquois, Johnson, LaSalle, Logan, Macoupin, Massac, Moultrie, Sangamon and White. Once all referenda are received, the full list will be available in late October on the Illinois Board of Elections website.