Congressman Tim Johnson (R-Urbana), running for re-election in a new district that includes part of Madison County, touted his sponsorship of conceal-carry legislation on a recent visit to Edwardsville.
Johnson is lead sponsor of the National Gun Reciprocity Act, which would preempt state law, allowing Illinois residents to obtain conceal-carry permits in another state that would then be honored in Illinois.
Illinois is the only state without a conceal-and-carry law.
"I believe very strongly in the second amendment," Johnson said on Friday. "I believe strongly Illinois law needs to be modernized and should comport with the other 49 states. I also believe Illinois legislature needs to break free from Chicago dictators and give our citizens the rights every other state has."
Johnson, 65, also was a staunch advocate of the right to carry when he served in the state legislature from 1976-2000.
"As a matter of public policy, it's important that citizens can keep and bear arms to support themselves and protect their family," he said.
Johnson believes areas with restricted gun laws have high crime rates, and conceal and carry laws are a deterrent to criminals.
Johnson also sponsors the "Citizen Legislator Act," a bill he introduced that he says would cut up to $2 billion from the federal budget by cutting Congressmen's salaries in half and limiting the number of days per year Congress can be in session. The bill would also allow congressmen to have a second job.
"I think it's important for members of Congress to be lawyers, teachers and farmers," he said.
"The bill provides accountability for members of Congress. It provides a healthy combination of individuals who are in their districts.
"Congressmen like their own full time job. They want full-time benefits and a full-time salary. There's always going to be resistance on both sides. People make a lot of money. I don't think it's a political issue."
Johnson is divorced. He lives with his daughter and son-in-law and their four children in Urbana. He is a lawyer, and has worked as a small businessman, realtor, farm operator and educator.
He is running against Democrat Matt Goetten of Carrollton, Greene County State's attorney, in the 13th Congressional district that includes part of Madison County, Jersey, Macoupin and Montgomery Counties.
He also faces Democrats David Gill and Michael Firsching.
He is running aginst Frank Metzger on the Republican ticket.