The Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms (CCRKBA) today applauded the Illinois State Senate for overriding anti-gun Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s veto of important self-defense legislation, and urged the House to act quickly on the matter.

On Wednesday, the Senate delivered a bipartisan 40-18 vote to override the governor’s veto of SB 2161, which would protect citizens from local anti-gun ordinances if they use a firearm to defend themselves or their families. That legislation was inspired by the case of Wilmette resident Hale DeMar, who shot a burglar in his home with a handgun, despite the city’s handgun ban. DeMar was charged with violating that ban.

“Forty Illinois state senators have shown very good sense in voting to override the governor’s veto,” said CCRKBA Executive Director Joe Waldron. “It is simply abhorrent to the American way of life to penalize someone for defending himself and his home against a criminal. In the case of Mr. DeMar, the man he shot had burglarized his home two nights in a row. Wilmette’s foolish handgun ban didn’t stop that thug from entering the DeMar home.

“But the Wilmette case is hardly an isolated event,” Waldron continued. “Several communities in Illinois have enacted those silly handgun bans, and they haven’t stopped a single crime. The pendulum needs to swing back from the philosophical Twilight Zone, where small-minded politicians pass laws that effectively prevent honest citizens from legally defending themselves. SB 2161 is a reasonable first step.

“What needs to happen quickly is House concurrence,” Waldron stated. “Illinois residents deserve protection from stupid local ordinances that essentially make them criminals for defending themselves. The bill got 90 House votes in May, and all it needs for an override are 71 votes.

“Perhaps in the near future,” Waldron concluded, “Illinois lawmakers will exercise further good judgment, and pass a state preemption law that erases Wilmette-type ordinances. At the same time, the Legislature would be well-advised to pass a veto-proof statute allowing law-abiding citizens to carry concealed handguns, giving Illinois residents the same measure of personal safety now enjoyed by citizens of 46 other states.”