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Concealed carry unlikely in Illinois

March 11, 2009 at 07:14 PM

Associated Press Writer


Excited by an important Supreme Court ruling and new support from law enforcement, thousands of gun owners gathered at the state Capitol Wednesday to rally for a law letting them carry concealed weapons. But their leaders say it will take time to build the support necessary to pass such divisive legislation.

While they gather strength, gun advocates hope to fend off new gun control measures, including attempts to limit who can sell a gun and how many people can buy.

“We’re not just going to lay down and take this stuff. Illinois is bigger than Chicago,” said Todd Vandermyde, a lobbyist with the National Rifle Association.

The battle over gun rights often boils down to geography.

Downstate lawmakers of both parties tend to oppose gun control, while their colleagues from the Chicago area tend to support it.

Gun advocates at the Capitol usually spend their time blocking new restrictions. This year, however, they’re excited about the possibility of removing the law that bars most gun owners from carrying weapons in public.

Illinois and Wisconsin are the only states without a “concealed carry” law.

The Illinois Sheriff’s Association, which was previously neutral on the issue, threw its support behind “concealed carry” proposals, saying 71 county sheriffs responded to a survey supporting the legislation. Nine others came out against the legislation and 23 didn’t respond.

In addition, the U.S. Supreme Court last summer overturned a Washington, D.C., ban on handguns, finding that people had a right to own them. The ruling could mean the end of a similar ban in Chicago, and gun-rights advocates hope it will strengthen the idea that people should be allowed to carry guns if they want.

“You talk to any gun-dealer shop and they just can’t keep guns on the shelf. And there’s a reason for that. People are concerned over the economy, the way it is. People want to protect themselves,” said Sen. John Jones, R-Mount Vernon.

Eventually, that may translate into a state law allowing concealed carry, Vandermyde said. But it won’t be easy with both the House and Senate run by Chicago Democrats.

Gun control advocates think any concealed carry legislation would be required to pass by a three-fifths supermajority for technical reasons, a far harder threshold to reach than a simple majority. Legislative leaders can also send gun measures to hostile committees, such as the Senate Public Health Committee, which rejected Jones’ concealed carry bill Wednesday.

Vandermyde said it ultimately might take court action to win permission to carry concealed guns, something that advocates say has reduced crime in other states by making criminals think twice about whether their victim might be armed.

Gun-control groups disagree that concealed carry helps reduce crime and they argue that carrying guns in public means a greater chance of gun-related violence, including accidental shootings and suicide.

“We’re not going to oppose you having a firearm in your home. When you bring that firearm in the street, that becomes everybody’s problem,” said Chris Boyster, downstate coordinator for the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence.

This year the council is pushing a ban on private gun sales to ensure that everyone who buys a gun submits to a background check. The group also wants to strip gun licenses from gun owners who twice fail to report a lost or stolen firearm.

Chanting “concealed carry now,” gun owners clad in yellow T-shirts gathered outside the Statehouse to cheer as their leaders and sympathetic lawmakers vowed to protect access to firearms. Then the group, which authorities estimated at 3,000, crowded into the Capitol to search for local lawmakers.

“I think it’s very important that we show everybody — not just our lawmakers but all of Illinois and everybody else who’s watching — that we will stand up for what our Second Amendment rights are,” said Brittany Workman, 23, who sells guns at Capitol City Arms Dealer in Springfield.

She and other gun owners say they don’t expect a concealed carry law to pass overnight, but they’re optimistic their groundwork will pay off soon.

Rep. John Bradley, D-Marion, managed to get his version of a concealed carry bill to the House floor. He hasn’t given up on passing it this year but acknowledges it will be an uphill battle.

The bills are HB245, SB1976.

If concealed carry became law, only registered gun owners could carry a gun. Owners would have to get a Firearm Owners Identification card and complete a training course on handgun use and safety.

Applicants would apply for a concealed firearms permit with the Illinois State Police. People with a criminal history, mental illness, substance abuse problems or are under 21 would be denied.

Your CommentsComments :: Terms :: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

One concealed carry bill already died in committee, the shocker that is since its packed heavily with Chicago machine thugs, and the only two bills to make it out so far are a 1 gun a month bill, and the annual AWB.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 03/11 at 07:31 PM

Remember in New Orleans awhile back they had all those car jackings then they passed a law you could carry a gun in your car. No more car jackings. But we should be glad that in this state they have not tried to tell us what kind and how many guns we can have yet. But wait, I hope I’m wrong but it’s coming. “Support the NRA.”

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 03/12 at 09:04 AM

I think anyone should be allowed to carry a gun, but I don’t think it should be concealed, but carried on the hip in an old west holster, that way you can let everyone see what a true badass you really are.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 03/12 at 11:52 AM

Today Senator “DICK” Durbin announced that Mexican Drug Cartels had skyrocketed from 50 in 2005 to well over 200+ in 2009.  He said they are in about every city in the U.S.  “No Crap Dick”, nice knowing that.  Since we can’t carry guns in Illinois, I guess we just sit around and wait to get whacked or robbed while Obama, Durbin, and Daley try and pass tougher gun laws.  I wonder how many of these cartels are in the state of Chicago. I don’t know about anyone else but I am gonna buy, buy, and buy somemore guns till they tell me I can’t. Then I am gonna buy a hell of alot of ammo. Its time everything below I-80 breaks free of the State of Chicago and its whacked out Democratic Politicians.  Once again, Illinois is 10 years behind the rest of the world.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 03/17 at 10:08 PM

Chicago has the biggest murder rate then anywhere in the USA, but yet they won’t allow their law abiding citizens to protect themselves.  Go figure.  They are tops in crooked law enforcement and the mob in Chicago, but yet they want to control the rest of the state of Illinois and pull us down to their level.  We put up with Emil Jones and now this Cullerton(?) guy controling the whole state, and it is getting real old.  It’s time we seceeded from Chicago and started using some common sense in running our state.  Concealed carry is the most intellegent way to go.  Every state that has went to concealed carry in the past has saw a big drop in the crime rate.  What’s so hard to understand about that Chicago?  Vote all anti gun representatives out of office in the next election please.  Show Chicago that they do not run the whole state of Illinois.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 03/25 at 08:03 PM

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