The Illinois Sheriffs’ Association at their Winter Training Conference adopted a resolution, which mirrors the National Sheriffs’ Association resolution, that strongly supports citizens’ protected right to bear arms under the Second Amendment.
Seventy-three sheriffs, including Johnson County Sheriff Elry Faulkner, were in attendance at the Illinois conference held in Springfield in early February.
Sheriff Faulkner is the longest serving sheriff in Illinois’ history, with nearly 40-years experience.
“Guns don’t kill people, people kill people,” Faulkner said Tuesday morning in Vienna.
Faulkner and sheriffs from across the state of Illinois believe that it is their responsibility and duty to uphold the Constitution including the Second Amendment.
The state association’s resolution states, “The cause of violence, including gun violence, must be addressed on many fronts, including improved mental health treatment, media violence, drugs, gangs, breakdown of the family, strengthening laws that prevent or reduce the access of legally prohibited persons to firearms and vigorous enforcement of existing laws.”
Rational law abiding citizens are not the cause of random acts of horrific violence in our communities, according to a statement released by the state association. The focus should be primarily on the lack of mental health services in our country.
“I am a firm supporter of every American’s Second Amendment right to own a gun.” Faulkner said. “But I also believe that Illinois lawmakers need to design a plan that would include some type of mental health screening for all gun owners.”
The state association also contends that county jails across the state continue to detain individuals who have been remanded to the Department of Human Service Mental Health Division for treatment. According to the state association, on February 8 there were sixty-eight (68) of these individuals waiting for placement, some of which have been waiting for over four months.
“It is not uncommon for me to have someone in jail for months while waiting to be moved to a mental health facility,” Faulkner said. “I had to hold one person for nearly six months while waiting.”
Sheriff Faulkner also voiced concerns about how children are disciplined in today’s society.
“We need to get back to the times when parents were allowed to discipline their children,” he notes. “The way things are today, parents and schools are afraid to discipline children, for fear of getting into trouble themselves.”
“Parents should have the right to raise their children the way they see fit, without the state interfering.”
The sheriff said he feels the schools should also be able to discipline students “just like they use to be able to.”
Faulkner contributes the increase in violence in part to the violent video games being sold to children today.
“I think lawmakers should have some restrictions on violent video games. To many of the games encourage violence.”
Faulkner has mixed feelings on conceal-carry. “I see the good in conceal-carry. But, I also see the bad in it.”
“Again, a person’s mental health state should play into permitting him or her to carry a concealed weapon,” Faulkner concludes.