PASA Park, Barry, IL -- In the election held Tuesday, March 20, 2012, the voters of Pike County, Illinois, approved a firearms concealed-carry ordinance by a 3,214 to 550 margin. It was one of the largest voter turnouts in county history. The ordinance directly contradicts current Illinois state law. As presented on the ballot, the ordinance took effect upon passage, and applies only to Pike County. The ordinance was placed on the ballot by a citizen initiative petition process that garnered three times the number of signatures required by law.
The new "Constitutional Carry" Pike County initiative was spearheaded by local Second Amendment activist Dr. Dan Mefford of Pittsfield, who drafted the successful ordinance in conjunction with noted outdoor journalist and firearms law expert Dick Metcalf, who is also a resident of Pike County. According to Dr. Mefford, "The people are speaking, and what the people are saying is, 'Trust the people.'"
Historians have stated that this is the first time since 1862 that county voters in any U.S. state have explicitly reversed a state law. The previous example was when the five western counties of Virginal nullified that state's secession from the Union, and themselves seceded from Virginia to form the new state of West Virginia.
It is widely anticipated that other rural and downstate counties will follow Pike County's lead. In 2007, the Pike County Board enacted a resolution stating that further restrictive firearms laws enacted by the Illinois State Legislature would be deemed by Pike County "to be Unconstitutional and beyond lawful Legislative Authority." That resolution was subsequently passed by 89 percent of all Illinois counties.
County and local law enforcement officers in Pike County are obligated by law to enforce country ordinances. State law enforcement officers and agencies are obligated to enforce state law. Legal observers therefore expect the inevitable court battle to be complex, because the new ordinance was enacted by the voters themselves, not by any county or local legislative entity.