Gun Question Won't Be On Williamson County's Ballot

Jul 26, 2018

A move to ask Williamson County voters how they feel about potential gun legislation failed on Thursday -- though the issue may not be dead.

County Board Chair Jim Marlo made a motion to approve the question, "Shall the Williamson County Board of Commissioners pass a resolution that opposes gun control legislation in the Illinois General Assembly?" for the November ballot.

But the motion failed when it didn't receive a second. Marlo says he's disappointed and frustrated.
"The public's opinion is valuable to me, and I want the public to know that your voice still matters to me. However, as you can see by this board, my motion alone is not enough to get that accomplished."
Commissioner Brent Gentry says the advisory referendum was unnecessary.
"What does that matter to us? I mean, what are we going to do to stop it? There's not one legislator down here in this area that would vote for any of these bills. None."

State's Attorney Brandon Zanotti says he has serious concerns with the question - including its vague nature and the fact that it potentially puts the County Board in the middle of state policy disputes.
"Placing broad-based policy questions out on a ballot that essentially, as the Board even agreed, means nothing in substance."
There is still time for the question to come back to the County Board - the deadline for referenda is August 20. Several other counties in Illinois have similar questions for voters this fall.