Concealed carry in McLean County; did Dozier's message have an effect?

By Maggie Vespa

September 25, 2012 Updated Sep 26, 2012 at 9:22 AM CDT

MCLEAN COUNTY, Ill.-- It's been just over a month since one local state's attorney set out to make a splash in Springfield and across the state, announcing his office would no longer prosecute some Illinois laws banning the carrying of a concealed weapon.

Tuesday, we asked the question: did citizens take advantage?

Soon after Interim McLean State's Attorney Ron Dozier made that announcement, authorities followed up with one of their own, saying they would continue to arrest those in violation of Illinois gun laws as they always have.

It appears residents heard them loud and clear.

Since then, city and county authorities in McLean County say they haven't seen any spike in citizens carrying concealed firearms.

McLean County Sheriff Mike Emery says his officers have made three weapons related arrests. None of them were based solely on concealed carry violations. In other words, the guns were being carried by a felon or had been used in a robbery.

But he adds Dozier's message had an effect.

"I think it raised the bar, the level of awareness higher," said Emery. "Always public debate on these types of issues is good, but it's time to have that debate, those conversations with our state legislature."

We also spoke via phone to incoming State's Attorney Jason Chambers. He says residents took Dozier's statement for what it was: a political opinion, adding he'd like to move on.

Our attempts to contact Dozier himself were unsuccessful. He is set to step down from office on October 5.

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