Protecting the Second Amendment.

Monday night, hundreds of people attended a forum in southern Illinois to voice their concerns over legislation being considered at the state capitol.

Those residents are upset with a bill that would affect their firearms and targeted at problems up north.  

It was standing room only at the Family Life Center in Enfield.  All wanting to know more about a series of bills being considered that they say could limit their rights as gun owners.

Many believe they are paying the price here for all the violence up north.

“I have not had anything except one traffic ticket in my entire life,” said White County resident James Totten. “Why is the state of Illinois all of a sudden sticking their nose into my business and expecting me to pay for it?”

If the size of the crowd Monday night was any indication, residents in southern Illinois are very concerned about proposed gun legislation being presented by state lawmakers,

“We’re just not going to stand for it,” said Valinda Rowe. “We’re going to fight back.”

Rowe and her husband run A website, they say is aimed at helping to advance the right to carry in Illinois.

They helped organize the forum in order to get the word out about Senate Bill 107 and others they say are trying to take away their Second Amendment rights.

“Some of them would ban some of our commonly owned sporting rifles, handguns, shotguns, and we’re concerned,” said Rowe.

The concern doesn’t stop there. Rowe says one of the bills not only targets their Second Amendment rights but their right to free speech as well.

“They could go through our Facebook, Twitter, whatever accounts and see what kind of things we have said or posts we have shared to see if there’s any reason that we would not merit owning firearms,” said Rowe.

Senate Bill 107 would require anyone who already owns certain semi-automatic weapons to register those firearms with state police within 300 days.  Failure to do so, lawmakers say, could result in a felony charge against the person.

It would be a law State Representative Darren Bailey says would punish the entire state, all in an effort to curb violence in Chicago.

“They feel like they need to do something with this gun violence, but the do something usually means blanketing the entire state with laws that infringe on our freedoms and that’s got to stop,” said Bailey.

Lawmakers say they don’t know when or if those bills would go up for vote.

Senate Bill 107 is in fact sponsored by a state senator from northern Illinois.

State Senator Julie Morrison, a democrat representing Deerfield, near Chicago, introduced the bill in January.  

Her campaign website says she introduced legislation to ban trigger modification devices, bump stocks, and assault weapons in response to the many tragic shootings in recent years.

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(This story was originally published on March 4, 2019)