Conceal-carry: Heeding court, Illinois becomes 50th state to allow it
Both chambers of the Illinois legislature on Tuesday overrode a veto on the matter by Gov. Pat Quinn. About 300,000 residents could apply for conceal-carry permits, although some details of the law have to be worked out first.
(Page 2 of 2)
Next Wednesday, the Chicago City Council is holding a special session to pass measures that would strengthen its existing ordinance banning the sale, transfer, and possession of assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. Mayor Emanuel also wants stricter penalties for gun crimes – a minimum three-year sentence, for example – and even harsher penalties for crimes committed on or near school grounds.Skip to next paragraph
In Pictures American Gun Culture
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
Despite criticism from the state’s top Democrats, the bill’s passage received praise from downstate lawmakers. Moreover, the veto override is being interpreted as a weakening of the governor, who is running for reelection against members of two formidable state dynasties: Attorney General Lisa Madigan, the daughter of Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan; and Bill Daley, former White House chief of staff under President Obama and the brother of former Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley.
State Rep. Brandon Phelps (D), who represents a district in southern Illinois, told the Associated Press that Quinn is “trying to cater to, pander to Cook County,” which includes Chicago. He continued, “And I don’t blame him ... because that’s where his votes are.”
The new law is less restrictive than one in New York City, which gives law enforcement officials more leeway in determining who ultimately gets the conceal-carry permits. In Illinois, anyone with a firearm owner’s identification card can get the permit if he or she passes a background check, pays $150, and goes through a 16-hour gun-safety course. That training period, however, is the longest required by any state.
Even those restrictions are vulnerable to challenges from gun-rights advocates, says Richard Pearson, executive director of the Illinois State Rifle Association. Possible legal challenges “will be to shorten up the training,” he says. “It’s too long.... There will also be some attempts to lower the permitting fees.”
However, Mr. Pearson says he does not expect any legal battles in the first two years, allowing the system to get up and running.
At the other end of the debate, gun-safety advocates say they want to push legislators to reconsider allowing concealed weaponry in establishments that serve alcohol. These are places, they say, where gun violence is most likely to occur.
“Ultimately, alcohol and guns don’t mix, period. That’s why we have really tough DUI laws. Everyone knows they don’t mix, so why are we even allowing it to happen?” says Colleen Daley, executive director of the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence. “We don’t think the fight is over. We need more common-sense proposals.”