As state lawmakers debate gun control laws in Springfield, Tazewell County board members weigh the idea of becoming a ‘safe haven’ for legal gun owners.

Next week, board members will hold an executive meeting to discuss the possibility of a ‘Sanctuary County’ designation. At a recent board meeting, several members of the community pleaded with leaders to consider the path taken by a handful of other areas, like the city of Effingham. The southern Illinois community proposed a resolution that specifically argues several state measures as unconstitutional and against the Second Amendment. 

“The base of the foundation is that they believe they have the constitutional right to bear arms, and I agree with that 100 percent,” said Tazewell County board chairman David Zimmerman.

He says residents’ concerns also include the economy, for Tazewell County is home to several gun shops and gun ranges.

Zimmerman says he does not believe his county would go into the same level of specificity as Effingham — and recognizes that laws would still need to be enforced regardless of any action by the board. Zimmerman says the board is simply considering several ways to listen and respond to taxpayers and show support for their concerns. Also, it is unclear if the board would actually distinguish itself as a ‘sanctuary county,’

“In my initial conversation with board members, I think they are a little uncomfortable with the word ‘sanctuary’ or not complying with the law,” said Zimmerman. ‘But they are four-square behind the Second Amendment and maybe passing a resolution in that regard.”

Zimmerman says the board is looking at some form of resolution that openly expresses support of the Second Amendment.