"Symbolic" gun requirement still on the books in local community

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Reporter/Photojournalist - Kendall Downing

GOREVILLE, Ill. - Packing heat at home isn't a suggestion in a local community. Instead, it's a legal requirement.

Back in 1982, trustees in Goreville, Illinois passed an ordinance requiring heads of households to maintain a firearm and ammo for their own protection. There are many exceptions, though.  Local 6 learned they made the move at that time in support of gun rights, after a Chicago-area community attempted to ban firearms.

Recently officials realized the ordinance had not been repealed and remains in effect even though it's really not being enforced.

Goreville, Illinois is a quiet place.

"I think it made a lot of headlines last time," said Mark Fischer, a resident.

And even though Fischer didn't live there back in 1982, he quickly heard about one specific ordinance that drew publicity decades ago.

"When we first moved to town, some people we became acquainted with told us about it," he said.

That ordinance is number 82-2. It requires heads of households to own a gun and ammo.

"They wanted to make a statement that we support gun rights, and we support peoples' rights to have guns," said Agnes Paul, Goreville Village Clerk.

Paul said the measure was largely symbolic.

Weeks ago a resident asked her when it was repealed, and she started looking. But she only found talk of repealing it in meeting minutes from 1997 and no vote.

"The intent was clear that they wanted to repeal the ordinance," said Paul.

The village attorney recommended new action to clear the community of any liability from its policy on packing heat.

"The idea is just to get rid of that possibility, and make sure it's clear that it's not on the books anymore," she said.

Trustees are expected to officially repeal the ordinance at a meeting Monday night at 6 p.m.

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