Illinoisans rush to buy guns amid political gun control debate


by Laura Hettiger / News 4

Posted on January 13, 2013 at 5:41 PM

Updated Wednesday, Nov 13 at 3:04 AM

BELLEVILLE, Ill. ( -- In the month since the tragedy in Newtown, Conn., there has been a national discussion on gun control, politicians have drafted new legislation and many gun owners have increased their collection of artillery. While no one knows what changes will come out of this mass shooting, the desire to bear arms continues to rage through parts of the country.
“You can see the prices at the gun show,” Rich Burke, a gun owner from O’Fallon, Ill., said. “People are getting more weapons, trying to beat, or get a weapon before any type of ban would be instated.”
Burke is just one of the hundreds who visited the state’s largest gun show this weekend in Belleville. The two-day event was hosted by the ECA Hunting and Trade Shows of Illinois. It gave people the opportunity to buy, sell and trade guns, knives and ammunition.
A board member with the Illinois State Rifle Association said even with all the options at the gun show, the majority of people wanted just one type of gun.
“Most people are looking for these military style [rifles],” said Larry Morse, IRSA board member.
When asked why people in Illinois would need that type of gun, Morse had three main reasons: he said they help people defend themselves at home, they fit anyone and they hold a lot of ammunition.
He also discouraged the notion of the guns being used to shoot to kill. Instead, he argues these guns help him “shoot to live.”
“We shoot to stop the criminal activity,” Morse said. “If they guy happens to die in the process, that’s an unfortunate part of it. I don’t shoot to kill.”
The gun owners News 4 talked to said it is not guns that kill people; it is people who kill people.
“You can pass all the laws you want,” Burke said, “but until you can get a criminal not to commit a crime, it does no good.”