LOVES PARK (WIFR) -- Now that concealed carry has officially become legal in Wisconsin…Illinois is the only state without a similar law. So many of us only expect to see guns out in the open when we cross the border, but that wasn’t the case Sunday afternoon. Dozens of gun owners were openly wearing weapons on their hips in Loves Park. That’s because it's legal under certain circumstances.
”In Illinois, you can carry concealed or open on private property with the permission of the landowner," says Shawn Kranish, founder of ICarry.org, a website that supports concealed carry in Illinois. Kranish says the site helped host events in Wisconsin to promote the adoption of the concealed carry law there.
More than 300 people came out to show their support of concealed carry at a rally at the Bullet Stop on Harlem Road. The Rockford Tea Party hosted the 2nd annual True Grit event; the goal of the group is to get a concealed carry measure passed on a local level.
“I think the more people come out and show their support of the 2nd amendment is a good thing,” says Andre Boudreaux, of Loves Park. He brought his two teenage sons to the event.
“Gun owners are a family kind of people, and that's our theme, protect your family,” says Bob Mlsna, co-coordinator of the Rockford Tea Party. “It isn't to go out and be a vigilante, it’s what good people want is to simply be let alone and enjoy their livelihood and enjoy their recreation.”
The Tea Party is passing around a petition to present to the Winnebago County Board. Supporters say if the measure is adopted, the Stateline could see a significant drop in crime.
"We're going to hold local officials accountable because we've tried everything else. We've tried lobbying and petitioning the state legislature. We've pressured the governor. We're going to hold it on the local level now,” says Kranish.
Supporters at Sunday’s rally are the first to put pen to paper. In 5 weeks, the Rockford Tea Party hopes the signature count will grow to more than 10,000.