Knox County Board sticks to its guns
Passes resolution supporting Second Amendment to counter perceived restrictions by Chicago politicians
By ERIC TIMMONS
Posted Feb 25, 2009 @ 09:50 PM
The Knox County Board passed a resolution of support Wednesday for the constitutionally guaranteed right to bear arms, with the intent of sending an unequivocal message to those who would seek to curtail those rights.
The motion was introduced by Bernie Damm, D-District 1, who said it was important the county make its position clear, in the face of what he saw as attempts from Chicago politicians to put restrictions on gun owners.
Damm’s motion referred to proposed legislation in both the Illinois House and Senate, which he said could ban the possession of some firearms, which are currently legal. The motion opposed the “enaction of any legislation that would impinge on the right to bear arms.”
Wayne Saline, R-District 4 backed the motion. “The city of Chicago, at the state level, is passing laws on a daily basis limiting the use of guns,” he said. “We need to support this (motion) because it is our right.”
Saline’s sentiments were echoed by County Board Chairman Greg Bacon. “We need to protect the rights we were given at the start by our forefathers,” he said.
Several County Board members thought the motion of support for Second Amendment rights on the board’s agenda was concerned with concealed carry laws, which are the subject of a bill before the Illinois House.
“At this point in time, it is appropriate that we do this,” Damm said, answering questions about the need for the motion. “We are constantly deluged, particularly from the Chicago area, with anti-gun bills.”
Three board members, Allen Pickrel, R-District 1, Paul Stewart, D-District 2, and Lyle Johnson, D-District 1, voted against the motion. All of the other board members present voted in favor of the resolution.
Pickrel said the motion was too expansive. “This is too broad for me,” he said. “I support guns for recreational use, but this expands it too far.”
The motion stated that it was the citizens of Knox County’s “inalienable right” to “derive economic benefit” using “all types of firearms allowed” by the law.
Johnson said he had no problem with concealed carry law, but that the motion referred to bills in the state legislature about which he didn’t know enough to pass judgment on. He also said he had already sworn on the Constitution, meaning he didn’t need to reaffirm his support for Second Amendment rights. Stewart said he supported “reasonable restrictions” on firearms.
Damm used a quote he attributed to Nazi leader Adolf Hitler to demonstrate why, in his view, restrictions on firearm use or ownership could be dangerous. The quote states: “1935 will go down in history. For the first time, a civilized nation has full gun registration. Our streets will be safer, our police more efficient and the world will follow our lead to the future.”
In other business Wednesday, the County Board appointed former board member Jerry Link to the County Board of Zoning Appeals, where he will replace Joe Krupps. “Jerry will be a great asset to the Board of Zoning Appeals,” County Board Chairman Greg Bacon said. “He has a wealth of knowledge.”
Ken Hutchenrider, CEO of Galesburg Cottage Hospital, was appointed to the Orpheum Theatre Board.
Nursing Home Administrator Marianne Wiesen’s contract was extended to December 2010, with no increase in salary or benefits.
County Board members saluted outgoing Knox County Health Board administrator Greg Chance, who is leaving to take up a similar post in Peoria. Bacon joked, “He runs a damn good health department. I did everything I could to make him stay short of getting him arrested and I’m working on that.”
The county signed a deal with energy company Integrys to provide electricity to all county buildings for the next two years. The agreement should create substantial savings to the taxpayer, according to Saline.
The board approved a bid of $61,316 to supply a generator to the nursing home.
"A strict observance of the written laws is doubtless one of the high duties of a good citizen, but it is not the highest. The laws of necessity, of self-preservation, of saving our country when in danger, are of higher obligation. To lose our country by a scrupulous adherence to written law would be to lose the law itself, with life, liberty, property, and all those who are enjoying them with us; thus absurdly sacrificing the end to the means." -- Thomas Jefferson to John Colvin, 1810.