State's attorney takes stand against gun law - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

State's attorney takes stand against gun law

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WILLIAMSON COUNTY, Ill. -- A local state's attorney is standing his ground against a bill that would ban assault weapons. 

During Monday night's town hall meeting in Marion put on by Representatives Terry Bryant, R-Murphysboro, Dave Severin, R-Benton, and Patrick Windhorst, R-Metropolis, Williamson County State's Attorney Brandon Zanotti spoke up on how he feels on gun control legislation. 

Zanotti stated he would not prosecute any citizen using their weapons to protect themselves or for leisure. 

"If you're not a felon and you're not using it for criminal purposes we are not going to prosecute you for it," Zanotti said. "I think we need to be careful before we starting passing all of these bills that start banning everything without again taking a common sense approach."

Currently a bill that sits in the Illinois Senate involves banning the possession, delivery, sale and purchase of assault weapons. 

Under Senate Bill 107, the first offense is a Class 3 Felony. 

"The three of us (lawmakers) up here are opposing any bill that takes away your second amendment rights," Bryant said. 

Zanotti addressed the public making a strong statement about the would-be law in Williamson County. 

"This is not a crime if that gets passed that I am going to prosecute," Zanotti said. 

Competitive shooter and southern Illinois resident Dave Batts also attended the meeting to tell lawmakers what type of effect this legislation would have on him. 

"It's going to absolutely put us out of business," Batts said. "If I didn't have grandkids here, I would move to Nashville tomorrow, Tennessee, not Illinois."

Zanotti said if this becomes a law, he's not looking to make felons out of what he calls "good southern Illinois people" who use these weapons to protect themselves, hunt or competitively shoot. 

"I'm not interested in adding a whole stack to my case load when it comes to just good decent people just trying to continue their hobby or just having them for their own personal protection purposes."

Zanotti said at this time he has not spoke to any other area state's attorneys in southern Illinois but plans on asking them to join him in not prosecuting gun owners, who are not committing any other crime. 

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