Ballot question aims to send message to lawmakers in Springfield
By Susan Vela
BELVIDERE — Gun rights supporters want voters here to sendthe message to Springfield that no new laws should be made restricting people’s constitutional right to bear arms.
A Nov. 6 advisory referendum will ask voters whether Boone County should oppose any state legislation that would mean a stricter interpretation of the Second Amendment and the constitutionality of bearing arms.
The Boone County Republican Party wants to send the election’s outcome to Springfield and let elected officials including the governor know where their constituents stand.
“There’s no other amendment in the United States Constitution that’s been under so much attack,” said David Wiltse, a semi-retired attorney who has a leadership position with the Boone County GOP.
He has concerns as national debates heat up about teachers having their guns in schools and what firearms juveniles can legally own.
The Boone County Board voted 9-3 on Aug. 15 to put the advisory referendum on the ballot. Members Jessica Muellner, Marshall Newhouse and Brad Stark voted against.
“Mostly because we don’t have any jurisdiction to make any kinds of ordinances or laws that would infringe on the Second Amendment,” Muellner said this week. “All those things are handled by the courts.”
She is opposed to Boone County trying to influence Springfield on gun matters.
“It’s noise that distracts people from the things they really should be paying attention to,” Muellner said.
Across the state, counties have been approving Second Amendment resolutions intended to send a message to state lawmakers.
Wiltse helped draft the resolution that Boone County approved to put an advisory referendum on the ballot.
“The people of Boone County, Illinois, derive economic benefit from all safe forms of firearms recreation, hunting and shooting conducted within Boone County using all types of firearms allowable under the United States Constitution,” one of the clauses reads.
Wiltse said party members haven’t done much to raise awareness about the referendum vote.
“There’s no big blitz — vote yes or vote no,” he said.
Susan Vela: 815-987-1392; firstname.lastname@example.org; @susanvela
Shall Boone County oppose any law restricting law-abiding gun owners from their Second Amendment rights as guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and to protect them from unconstitutional gun laws which have or may be passed by the Illinois General Assembly?
Rockford Register Star Friday, 19 October 2018