Jackson County board talks on supporting more gun control, residents respond

JACKSON COUNTY, IL (KFVS) - Dozens of concerned residents attended a Jackson County, Illinois board meeting on May 22 to express concern that the board may support state legislation that would increase gun control in the state.

The legislation in question is the same five bills that caused multiple other southern Illinois county boards to pass resolutions stating they would not allow local authorities to enforce them should they be passed.

Not all board members agree with the idea of supporting this legislation. Jackson County Board Member representing District 1, Laurie Nehring, said the bills are too broad for her to support them as they are written.

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"There are just lots of complexities where the bills are unclear, which opens the door to a lot of very difficult issues that we aren't prepared to handle," she said.

Many Jackson County residents say more gun control laws won't keep them safe from criminals.

"They'll just commit crimes with the new laws as well as they did the old laws, it makes no difference to them," said Gary Darnell.

Some fear that more regulations will hurt local small businesses selling firearms.

"That virtually kills all their revenue for the year if they have to start paying to have a license, on top of a license, on top of a license," said Joel Wise.

Nehring points out that she doesn't believe the county board should have the final say in these laws enforcement.

"This county board does not have authority over gun legislation," she said. "We follow state and federal laws. So to spend time on this was really a distraction from issues that we really impact."

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