9 months, 4 weeks ago by Bob Gough
Chief Rob Copley says two years of study has caused him to rethink his stance; Stresses more firearms training for those who wish to carry
Quincy Police Chief Rob Copley says after studying the issue of concealed carry, he is now in favor of the law.
Copley’s comments come the day after Quincy Alderman Mike Rein (R-5th Ward) proposed that the City’s legal counsel prepare an ordinance for the City to have a concealed carry law.
Copley said he began looking at the issue after he took some criticism over his opposition to concealed carry.
“About two years ago, you (Bob Gough) posed that question to me and I gave some off the cuff remarks that were consistent with the opinion of the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police that regurgitated their stance,” Copley said. “I hadn’t given it due thought. I took a lot of heat for that…probably rightfully so.”
Copley said he volunteered to be on an ILACP subcommittee on the issue to further study concealed carry.
“They were looking if they would change their stance,” he said. “It was 50/50 with the northern chiefs opposing it and the southern chiefs supporting it.”
“We looked at the issue, studied it and went back to the committee and advocated we change our stance on the issue. We did do that. We changed it from opposition to neutral to supporting concealed carry legislation.”
Copley said his transition is to one of personal support being an advocate of individual rights. But as a police chief, he still has concerns.
“The current bill and the previous bill have been light on the required training needed,” Copley said. “Police officers have to have 40 hours of training and the people who are going to be carrying are potentially going to be put in life and death situations.”
“As a police chief, with my public safety hat on, there are still some concerns. We’re changing as a society. There’s going to be some growing pains, but every other state has pulled it off and I’m confident that Illinois will get there.”
Copley says he understands what Rein is trying to do in showing that Quincy is yet another community or county in Illinois that wants the law changed.
“Whether that will be effective without a state law…that’s up to the legal minds,” Copley said. “When the state does pass the concealed carry law, the language that has been in those bills has been that state law will pre-empt home rule.”