East St. Louis Mayor On Concealed Carry Law: "More Guns...On The Street Is Not The Answer"

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via
Mayor Alvin Parks.
East St. Louis, Illinois, mayor Alvin Parks says he is not in favor of having more guns on the street -- but pretty soon, he won't have a choice.

Illinois is on its way to adopting a concealed-carry law, which means it will no longer be the only state in the country with a ban on firearms in public. This change is mandated by a federal appeals court that ruled last year that the state's ban is unconstitutional. It's still uncertain exactly what the final version of this law will look like, but the change will happen -- and soon.

"We will support whatever law comes from the state of Illinois as fervently as we can," Parks tells Daily RFT, but later adds, "More guns being on the street is not the answer...for a safer community."

See also:
- Concealed-Carry Now Legal In Illinois? Madison Co.'s Top Prosecutor Says Yes
- GOP Pushes To Make Concealed-Carry Permit Process Easier, Protect Privacy
- Concealed Carry Suit Says Missouri Is Violating Privacy of Gun Owners

As we reported earlier this week, the state legislature in Illinois has approved a concealed-carry bill, but the governor has not yet signed it and could veto the measure. Meanwhile, some state prosecutors -- notably Madison County State's Attorney Tom Gibbons -- have said they will, effective immediately, allow concealed carry. Other law enforcement agencies have said they are waiting until the law is formally changed.

Some form of concealed carry will have to be implemented in Illinois in the near future and will likely allow residents with proper certification to carry loaded firearms on them and in their cars.

And Parks says he is prepared to enact the new state law in East St. Louis, even if he has not supported concealed carry in the past.

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"I have been a staunch opponent of carry and conceal, because in many cases...a person resorts to that as a first line of defense," he says. "'If you don't treat me right, I'm going to show you why you should've treated me right'...as opposed to, 'Let's talk through the situation before we resort to a physical confrontation.'"

Whatever the final version of concealed carry may be, he says, "We plan on supporting it with all the enthusiasm and vigor we can as a city."

Going forward, he says, "It's not a matter of resisting and certainly not a matter of opposing."

But, he adds that he will "make sure we do everything we can to safeguard the environment given that the environment is a whole new ball game."

Parks says his biggest concern is maintaining bans on guns in any establishments that have alcohol, such as bars and nightclubs.

"I'm going to be staunchly opposed to weapons on those premises," he says. "Alcohol and guns don't mix. They just don't mix. Just like alcohol and car keys. Drinking and driving just doesn't mix."

He says, "I will be encouraging individual business to make those choices," pointing out that these establishments can and should have bans on firearms.

It's important to him, Parks says, that schools, churches and other institutions have bans as well.

Parks, who is also the city's liquor commissioner, says that he will, if necessary, consider some sort of citywide ordinance that bans guns from certain kinds of establishments that serve liquor. He is, however, hopeful that these joints would make that decision independently to reduce the risk of violence.

"It's very important that individuals who may have a beverage or two in their systems don't end up resorting to [guns]...as the first line of defense in any kind of antagonistic or confrontational situation," he argues.

Parks says that there has been a decrease in shootings and crime tied to the nightlife in East St. Louis and wants to be sure that a new gun law would not reverse that.

"I realize I'm in the minority," he says, pointing out, "the state of Illinois was in the minority for a long time."

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via Facebook
Illinois Governor Pat Quinn who must soon weigh in on a passed concealed-carry bill.

He says that he recognizes that concealed-carry may create useful protections for armed residents in some cases. "It protects victims perhaps a little bit better."

Parks says that it could be useful to prevent carjackings and discourage criminals from committing these kinds of crimes, for example. But ultimately, he adds, he remains concerned about the individuals who may now reach for their guns instead of opting for a more peaceful solution during a confrontation.

For now, he says, East St. Louis will continue to enforce the current ban on the books -- unlike some officials who have put out statements saying concealed-carry is permitted going forward.

"We will wait for the state of Illinois," he says.

Send feedback and tips to the author. Follow Sam Levin on Twitter at @SamTLevin.


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18 comments
OlsenTraining
OlsenTraining

With the reduction of First Responders in ESL, empowered and trained residents is the only thing that WILL keep the peace in the Metro East.  'More Guns' is the reality along with 'Less Cops' and 'Less Firefighters'.

Casey McBroom
Casey McBroom

Awww... The communist can't have his cake and eat it??? No worry Mr. Mayor, no decent person is interested in your disgusting E. Stl. You just go ahead and keep your b.s. paradise over there. Dumbass!

PJ Mitchell Rulo
PJ Mitchell Rulo

people!! criminal's have the majority of gun's already out in the public.and some of you are freaking out because law abiding citizen's are going to be legal for public use of a gun? wow!!!"more gun's on the street's not a good thing" hmm...

PJ Mitchell Rulo
PJ Mitchell Rulo

id rather see gun's on the street in the right peoples hands,instead of criminals.I can bet criminal's out beat a law abiding citizen on gun's in public.

Neil Aimaro
Neil Aimaro

Duh. If it did St. Louis would be crime free and everyone knows that we are anything but.

Tony Merklin
Tony Merklin

Well then, I'd say Close Down East St Louis. What does that have to do with Carrying Concealed Weapons ?????

Sharon Walker
Sharon Walker

Guns in the hands of law abiding citizens, non-gang members, those with a genuine interest in public safety are not dangerous. Cops can't keep up. What do you expect a regular citizen to do?...Sit at home waiting to be killed? No way.

Scott Tyler
Scott Tyler

Newsflash------The Mayor of East St Louis is an idiot.

Jeet C. Chadha
Jeet C. Chadha

That's right! Let's put a gun in the hands of every citizen in a municipality of almost 30,000 people - WITHOUT A FUNCTIONING HOSPITAL - and an unemployment rate of 15.0%. MAKES PERFECT SENSE TO ME!

Zach Samples
Zach Samples

Doesnt matter. There's always a way to get a gun for a criminal, legally or not. Give everyone a gun in east st louis and the dwindling majority of law abiding citizens would actually fight back instead of hide in the shadows

Carlos Madrid
Carlos Madrid

I think it will increase the risk you face when you commit violence.. maybe after a few criminals get shot in the face for trying to rob someone they will realize it isn't open season on everyone else anymore

Chelsea Embree
Chelsea Embree

This is concerning to me because I go to college in a small town in Illinois. I would feel more unsafe knowing that anyone (and possibly everyone) on the street could be carrying a gun, especially because I would never carry one. Fighting criminals' guns with "good" citizens' guns is not the best solution to any problem. Have we forgotten that saying, "Don't fight fire with fire"? Concealed carry laws don't make us safer. They allow for violence to thrive in society. I recognize the argument of self defense, but "average" people can do crazy things when their backs are against the wall.

Christopher Miguel Angel-Evil Harrison
Christopher Miguel Angel-Evil Harrison

You know, just like we have this huge problem with people with CCW Endorsements here in Missouri shooting people. Trained, licensed people aren't the problem.

Jason Granger
Jason Granger

Legal permit holders do not invite violence. You people are naive. Obviously the criminals in east St. Louis aren't abiding by any laws... I reserve the right to defend myself against an unruly population in my peaceable travels. My solution is stay out of Illinois altogether but I'm glad the citizens there will finally no longer be oppressed.

Colleen Liebig
Colleen Liebig

More guns on the street = risk of more violence. I think this is a very bad thing.

Chris Ferguson
Chris Ferguson

Yea, cause legal guns in the hands of law abiding citizens will totally make East St. Louis unsafe.

OlsenTraining
OlsenTraining

@Jeet C. Chadha The folks in ESL won't have the funds to carry legally.  A FOID card is $35, a decent pistol is ~$300, CCW is $150 and classes will be between $250 and $300.

Lafully armed and educated residents would help as criminals have said time and time again they bypass 'hard targets'.

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