Peoria Police Chief weighs in on concealed carry law

By WEEK Reporter

July 9, 2013 Updated Jul 9, 2013 at 10:10 PM CDT

PEORIA, Ill -- Peoria Police Chief Steve Settingsgaard says he is comfortable with the stipulations that are in the bill passed into law Tuesday.

"We were going to have concealed carry, there was no doubt about that, but it's good to have a law that now defines it for people," said Chief Settingsgaard.

He also believes that this will contribute to a decline in gun crimes.

"The folks that I fear with a gun, most of them are already carrying guns," he said.

Chief Settingsgaard said criminals may think twice now, knowing victims might not be such easy prey. Overall he believes the law will be helpful.

"I may go to rob someone, assault someone, they may have a gun to defend themselves or some passerby or witness may armed that can defend them," he said.

John Meek, owner of Midwest Firearms in East Peoria, said he is pleased with the new law and adds business is booming.

"We have some people that have been anticipating this day for a long time, and I'm sure that they have purchased for this purpose," said Meek.

However, gun owners will not be able to carry their weapons in public without a valid concealed carry permit, a process that Illinois state police have 180 days to develop.

That delay causes concern for Chief Settingsgaard.

"How do we enforce this new law that says you can't carry a concealed gun without a permit, yet you can't get a permit?" questioned Chief Settingsgaard.

The Chief hopes to sit down with the State's Attorney, the Sheriff and other local law enforcement soon to determine if they will arrest for concealed carry during this time. Still, he said for those considering, it's not a decision to take lightly.

"You have to understand the repercussions of producing a gun in a hostile incident, being able to react, being able to maintain possession and being able to do the right thing, make the right decision in a split second," he said.

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