Bloomington, IL (Guns Save Life) – McLean County State’s Attorney Ron Dozier is set to announce publicly today, Monday, August 2o, to the media and residents of McLean County, Illinois, his decision not to prosecute Firearm Owner Identification Card holders who are arrested for merely possessing a concealed weapon in violation of Illinois’ prohibition on law-abiding residents carrying the means with which to protect themselves.
In essence, with Dozier’s decision, gun owners may be able to use their FOID card as a de facto carry permit in that county.
Word of Dozier’s defiant and courageous stand has been leaking out for the last week or ten days from chief law enforcement officers from the various departments in McLean County and other key people.
The Albion, Illinois Navigator Journal posted a story detailing Edwards’ County State’s Attorney Michael Valentine saying that he supported and agreed with Dozier’s stance on not prosecuting law-abiding gun owners for mere illegal possession of a gun on their person.
Unlike the tiny Edwards’ County, McLean County is the largest county in Illinois geographically, and with approximately 170,000 residents, it is one of the largest populated counties as well.
We at Guns Save Life had a chance to briefly skim over a draft of Dozier’s fairly lengthy, well-researched and well-written announcement about a week ago and we had another opportunity to look it over more carefully yesterday.
In the draft announcement, Dozier explains that by law and precedent, local prosecutors have great discretion with regard to charges in criminal cases – and he notes the primary check and balance to this power is the people’s power to remove him or her at the next election.
He goes on to say that with the Heller and McDonald decisions, the right of the people to keep and bear arms is incontrovertible. He writes that Chicago and the State of Illinois have “done everything possible to defy, obfuscate and ignore the Court’s substantive rulings”.
He sees Illinois current prohibition on law-abiding individuals carrying firearms for personal defense as unconstitutional and as such he will not bring charges in those cases. In essence, his press release says to local, county and state law-enforcement in McLean County: don’t bother to make an arrest because Dozier’s not going to prosecute in cases that “appear in contravention of the Heller and McDonald decisions”.
His purpose in making the announcement, he cautions, isn’t to encourage folks to disregard the laws, particular pertaining to firearms, but to send a message to the Governor and legislators “who continue to ignore the U.S. Supreme Court decisions”.
Now, as we mentioned earlier, word of this announcement has been filtering around. Word has it the Illinois State Police is borderline apoplectic. “We can’t have a bunch of untrained people running around with guns!” seems to be their attitude. We know this statement is nothing but a canard as the Illinois State Police does not support private individuals with training above and beyond the average police officer carrying firearms here in Illinois.
Rumor has it this has made it to the Governor’s office and he’s been meeting with the State Police and the Attorney General’s office to find a way to pressure Dozier to cancel the public announcement or to somehow follow through on what would seem to be hollow threats that IL Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s office would prosecute gun owners for exercising their Second Amendment Rights as defined under Heller and McDonald. To say our inept Governor Quinn is unhappy is an understatement.
Time will tell what will happen. We’ll keep you up to speed.
All we can say in the meantime is congratulations for a very public and bold stand against those who continue to deprive Illinois residents of the choice to exercise their right to carry the means with which to defend themselves and their families from violent crime in public in Illinois.
We hope other principled prosecutors adopt Dozier’s position and put pressure on the handful of anti-gun politicians in Illinois who have thwarted right-to-carry for our residents.
Yes, Illinois is the last state without right-to-carry. We’re working to change that and we welcome Mr. Dozier’s announcement.
We would also recommend to our fellow gun owners that they contact their own local State’s Attorneys and encourage them to stand behind Dozier and make a similar announcement for their own respective counties.
Godspeed Mr. Dozier.
UPDATE: August 21, 2012
It’s been publicly released.
Prosecution of gun laws changing in McLean County
BLOOMINGTON — McLean County could become an island of concealed carry for gun owners in a state that does not allow weapons to be carried in public, according to new guidelines for prosecuting gun crimes announced Tuesday afternoon by State’s Attorney Ron Dozier.
In a four-page statement released to The Pantagraph, Dozier said his office will not file charges against law-abiding citizens who possess weapons.
“As state’s attorney, I have to make a choice. Do I continue to enforce laws that I believe to be unconstitutional, a belief that is supported by decisions of the highest court in the land, or do I continue to prosecute citizens who run afoul of state gun laws, but have no evil intent or purpose in mind?” Dozier said in his statement.
Dozier, who was appointed in December to fill in as state’s attorney until a new chief prosecutor was elected, said he has been “quietly changing our policies to bring them in accordance with the rulings of the U.S. Supreme Court.