McLean Co. State's Attorney calls several Illinois gun laws 'unconstitutional'; will no longer prosecute

By Maggie Vespa

McLean Co. State's Attorney calls several Illinois gun laws 'unconstitutional'; will no longer prosecute

August 21, 2012 Updated Aug 21, 2012 at 9:06 PM CDT

MCLEAN CO., Ill. -- Is it 'jumping the gun' or reasonable discretion?

That's a question being asked in McLean County after the outgoing State's Attorney publicly announced he will no longer prosecute some of Illinois' gun law statutes, making McLean County, in essence, a 'concealed carry island' in Illinois.

Ron Dozier has about two months left in office. He's going out with a bang.

Tuesday, the McLean County State's Attorney announced he has quietly been changing his office's policies to bring them in line with U.S. Supreme Court rulings.

He's calling on Illinois lawmakers to follow him and the rest of the country.

"People are getting fed up. They're getting frustrated," he said. "It's been, 2010, it's been two years now since the Supreme Court has said this is our right, and you keep saying 'no, we're going to make felons out of people.'"

Dozier says his office will use discretion, when enforcing Illinois gun statutes, namely: the 'Firearm Owners Identification Card Act', and 'Aggravated Unlawful Use of Weapons'.

He wil ask questions like:

-What appears to be the reason or purpose for the person's possession or carrying a firearm?

-Has the person been convicted of a felony offense?

Dozier says several other Illinois State's attorneys agree with him.

"Every prosecutor uses their discretion. It's our duty," he said. "It's part of our oath to try to achieve justice, as opposed to get convictions."

But not everyone is convinced.

Via phone Tuesday, Peoria County State's Attorney Jerry Brady said "Our responsibility is to follow the law that is written... So that we don't send a message to the community of misinterpreting and changing the law."

Also via phone, Dozier's soon-to-be successor Jason Chambers, called the move "...somewhat reckless," adding "what people are going to hear is 'you can carry', and that's not what this says."

Chambers adds the timing of this announcement, weeks before Dozier is set to step down, concerns him.

We asked Dozier about that. He said he intended to go public sooner, but other matters got in the way.

He added if he did it after leaving office, no one, including Springfield, would listen.

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