Will Kieth Nygren “Get Religion” and Allow 230 of his Trained Staff to Carry Guns While Off Duty?

McHenry County Sheriff Keith Nygren got a headline saying he was in favor of a concealed carry law in today’s Northwest Herald, as you can see below.

Hdeadline: "Nygren supports concealed carry"

Headline: "Sheriff Nygren supports concealed carry law."

I’d try to find the NW Herald article that I believe quoted a Crystal Lake Police Chief Keith Nygren as being against concealed carry in the 1990’s, but, with the NW Herald charging for its archives, that’s expecting too much. (And I didn’t buy today’s paper. I’m a second hand user.)

Beyond what I remember as a flip-flop from when I was state representative, Woodstock Advocate writer and Green Party sheriff’s candidate against Nygren, Gus Philpott, wrote in a comment about Nygren’s speech to the McHenry County Concealed Carry Association that

“Nygren was at the meeting and presented the position of the Illinois Sheriffs’ Association, which is to support concealed carry; however, at no point did Nygren ever say that HE supports concealed carry.

“What’s your position, Keith?”

It appears that question has been answered in today’s NW Herald.

But, as they say, actions speak louder than words.

Democratic Party challenger Mike Mahon points out that Nygren will not let about 230 his own trained and certified employees carry their weapons when off duty.

You know how you hear about off-duty Chicago policemen interrupting crimes while on their own time. They have guns.

Back when I was state representative, I was told of an Illinois Department of Corrections Office who was shot after he got off work by a gang banger friend of one of the inmates at either Joliet or Stateville prisons.

Illinois stupidly does not allow correctional officers to take their weapons home to defend themselves with. They have to lock them up in the prison. They can’t even have their own guns in the prison parking lot.

The result was that one correctional officer died on his way home to his Chicago neighborhood.

I introduced a bill, got it out of committee and to the House floor to rectify that situation. No help from the Illinois State Rifle Association. The legislation would have allowed correctional officers, both state and county, plus retired law enforcement officers, to carry handguns while not on the job.

My logic was that there would be that many more good guys on the street should some gang banger or crook or just plain nutcase decides to do something in their presence.

The State Rifle Association sat on its hands as a drunken Peoria area Democratic state representative took aim after a well-lubricated dinner.

The ISRA didn’t want any bill passed unless everyone was included.

And my bill lost.

Now, Mahon is calling out Nygren about allowing his own jailers and other trained and certified employees to be armed while off duty.

“Let them carry weapons while off the job,” Mahon is, in effect, saying.

“The community will be safer and you won’t be subject to the charge of being a hypocrite.”

I repeat, those were not Mahon’s words. You can read his words in his press release below:

The following statement was released Tuesday by McHenry County Sheriff candidate Mike Mahon:

Mike Mahon

“I find it interesting that Sheriff (Keith) Nygren has appeared to have gotten religion recently with respect to ‘concealed carry,’ when in fact he has had the capability to reinforce crime fighting in McHenry County for over a decade and has refused to do so.“

I am speaking of the over 230 trained McHenry County correctional and court security officers and process servers whose ability to carry firearms outside of the scope of their official duties has been denied by the same Sheriff Nygren who now states, according to a Northwest Herald article published March 2, 2010, that ‘when something happens to you or your family…the likelihood that there will be a policeman standing next to you is probably not very great’ and therefore that ‘private citizens who have guns could prove especially helpful in circumstances in which police were not instantly at the scene of an incident.’

“Now that the issue of concealed carry in Illinois might be getting some traction, Sheriff Nygren seems to be signaling some lukewarm support.

“But for years and years he could have permitted his officers, who have all completed the State of Illinois Law Enforcement mandatory firearms training course, who work for his office and whom he could keep a close eye on, to carry firearms not only as they travel to and from work but also when off-duty and in the community.

“The list of mass killings like Columbine, Virginia Tech and, closer to home, Northern Illinois University, unfortunately continues to lengthen. An off-duty officer in Utah was instrumental in halting an incident there within the last several years.

“But in McHenry County the additional cavalry are unarmed.

“I, for one, will be far more ready to believe in Sheriff Nygren’s new-found conversion to concealed carry if he immediately lifts his own restriction on the sworn, trained, and certified officers under his command.

“I will also ensure the people of McHenry County that one of my first acts as Sheriff, after a thorough review of personnel records, will be to allow the sworn and trained officers of the Sheriff’s department to carry their firearms off duty.

“This will instantly put hundreds more trained and vetted public servants on the street during their off-duty hours which will therefore bring a higher level of public safety to all citizens of the county.”

For more information contact the Mike Mahon for Sheriff Campaign at 847.515.4772.

= = = = =

I will again point out that there was a woman who had Armed Forces training who was sitting in the front of the NIU auditorium when the massacre occurred.   She could have taken out the little squirrel who did the shooting from the stage, but, instead, she got killed.

NIU is what my campaign manager for governor (when I ran in 2002) called “a protection free zone.”

One more thing.  In John Lott’s “More Guns, Less Crime,” he points out the harder laws make it for people to obtain their own personal protection in the form of a gun, the less likely it is for those people really in need of such protection will be able to qualify.

So, if you want to discriminate against inner city residents, make the hurdles high.


Will Kieth Nygren “Get Religion” and Allow 230 of his Trained Staff to Carry Guns While Off Duty? — 4 Comments

  1. I’d like to know if Nygren was at the February 3, 2009 Illinois Sheriffs’ Assn. meeting when the Resolution was voted on. Was he present and voting?

    The ISA Executive Director told me the vote was unanimous. Nygren told the McHenry County Right to Carry Assn. audience that 90% of the sheriffs voted for it.

    No, they didn’t.

    According to the ISA, 90% of the 79 sheriffs responding to a survey supported concealed carry. There were only 60 sheriffs at the 2009 meeting, where the Resolution was approved unanimously.

    Basically, Nygren just not telling the truth.

  2. Concealed carry in Illinois has been afforded to sworn peace officers for years. McHenry County jailers are not sworn peace
    officers therefore they are not entitled to the same concealed
    carry ability. This is by statute. Mahon should know this. After all, he is
    a Correctional Officer for a county that considers their
    jail guards sworn peace officers.

  3. David2359, does Cook County’s “considering” its jail guards as sworn peace officers make them eligible to carry firearms off-duty?

    I’d like to see that statute that grants this privilege to them and to any other non-sworn peace officer. If you know it, can you post it here, please? Thanks!

  4. I called my nephew, who had an office in the Daley Center downtown a couple of years ago to get some clarification on this gun issue because there are courtrooms with armed deputy sheriffs who worked in that building. Those deputy sheriffs are part of the Cook County Sheriff’s Department. He told me that for many decades, under multple Sheriffs, tens of thousands of Cook County correctional officers & court deputies have been able to carry guns off duty without any legal question whatsoever – and that is anti-gun Daley town. He also said that just recently, two off duty officers, a male and a female, one a corrections officer and one a deputy, were driving home and witnessed a huge gang fight and the two officers called 911 and then stopped the fight by drawing the weapons and announcing they were Sheriffs. My nephew said that those officers were honored for their action. I did a little more research found that there is a distinction between a “police” officer and a “peace” officer under Illinois law and that is a distinction and based primarily on the amount of training they get. Bottom line is, having more and better trained public safety officers should be something desired by everybody in McHenry County except the gangsters. Since we already have a couple hundred of these potential guardians on public safety on the payroll, why haven’t they been given the opportunity to either expand their professional knowledge through the appropriate training that would authorize them to carry off duty, or to individually reject that additional professional responsibility and not carry off duty? It beginning to appear that Sheriff Nygren has been more concerned with Sheriff Nygren and his lifestyle than those of us who pay our taxes and spend most of our time in the county we have chosen to live and work in. Personally, I’m waiting to see what Mahon will offer as a platform – and I’m looking for concrete solutions, not platitudes and political nonsense. I do like that fact Mahon is a longtime resident of this County and he has a wife and kids who go to school here.

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