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Concealed carry bill has “grassroots support”

March 09, 2011 at 07:03 AM

The State Journal-Register

Illinois on Tuesday moved a step closer to becoming the 49th state to allow its citizens to carry concealed firearms.

“This is the best chance it’s had in a while,” the sponsor, Rep. Brandon Phelps, D-Harrisburg, said of the proposal, which he has introduced many times in his five terms as a state representative. “I’ve never had the grassroots or groundswell that this bill has right now. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with us getting with the times.”

The measure, House Bill 148, was approved, 12-2, by the House Agriculture and Conservation Committee Tuesday. It would allow county sheriffs to issue concealed carry permits to people 21 and older who have undergone eight hours of training and passed criminal background and mental health checks.

The proposal failed in the past because it couldn’t muster the votes to get around a section of the Illinois Constitution requiring a 71-vote House supermajority for bills that overrule the rights of home rule municipalities, such as Chicago and Springfield.

Phelps said the number of representatives who have pledged to support concealed carry this year is close to that 71-vote mark.

“I haven’t seen the final totals. I haven’t talked to (National Rifle Association lobbyist Todd Vandermyde) about it,” Phelps said. However, Phelps said, “we’re over 66 votes right now.”

If the proposal passes both chambers of the General Assembly, it still faces a potential gubernatorial veto, which also would take a supermajority vote to override.

Gov. Pat Quinn has said previously he opposes concealed carry. However, a spokeswoman said the measure gets to him, Quinn will give it the same consideration he would give any other bill.

Proponents of the bill present at the committee hearing included private citizens, the Madison County state’s attorney, the Tazewell and Fulton County sheriffs and representatives of other police associations.

Other private citizens, representatives of the City of Chicago and the Illinois Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence appeared in opposition to the measure.

Mark Walsh of the Illinois Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence said the system to handle mental health background checks isn’t up to catching people who shouldn’t be eligible to own guns.

“In Illinois ... there are approximately 120,000 records that should be input into the system,” Walsh said. “What that means is there’s people who should be prohibited purchasers who are not on the list and will come up as, quote-unquote, law-abiding citizens.”

Rep. Wayne Rosenthal, R-Morrisonville, voted to pass the proposal on to the entire House.

“I think it’s a right that’s afforded us by the Second Amendment,” Rosenthal said.

Illinois and Wisconsin are the only states that do not permit some form of concealed carry.

The committee also passed House Bill 3130, which would require Illinois to honor concealed carry permits issued in other states.

“If 148 (the Illinois concealed carry measure) passes, then we wouldn’t need that secondary bill,” Rosenthal said.

A concealed carry bill in the Senate was stalled on Tuesday when it was transferred to a subcommittee.

Andy Brownfield can be reached at 782-3095.

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lol…as much as I want ccw here in this bs state….it has to get the OK from the chicago dems…I doubt they’ll let it go through. They controll everything in this state and they are very anti-gun. I’m not holding my breath…..

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 03/09 at 09:24 PM

Not holding my breath either.  The Peoples Republic of Illinois will always vote against the will of the people.  I wonder why residents and businesses are leaving this state in droves (and taking their revenue with them)...?

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 03/10 at 06:40 AM

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