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Illinois gun legislation Q&A for 2009

February 26, 2009 at 06:31 AM

Gatehouse News Service

Every year in the General Assembly, the debate over gun control returns to the legislature, as sure a sign of spring as robins searching for food on the Capitol grounds.

This year is no exception, with well more than a dozen bills introduced already dealing with various gun issues. A couple of proposals would prohibit local communities from enacting bans on guns. Another would let authorities revoke an adult’s FOID card if a minor illegally obtains weapons. Another would toughen standards for transferring weapons between people.

And there are no less than three bills allowing Illinois residents to carry concealed weapons.  Gun advocates have tried without success for years to get a “concealed carry” law passed in Illinois.

Those bills are getting a renewed focus this year in light of a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision upholding the right to have guns in the home and the Illinois Sheriffs’ Association recent endorsement of concealed carry.

Q: What is concealed carry?

A: Just what the name implies. Persons who complete a required training course would be issued a permit that allows them to carry weapons (normally handguns) in public. The guns are not in plain sight, like a cowboy toting a six-shooter in a holster, hence the concealed part of concealed carry.

Q: Only a handful of states have concealed carry laws, right? And they’re probably all out West.

A: Wrong on both counts. As of now, 48 states have concealed carry, although there are differences in their approaches to it. Only Illinois and Wisconsin don’t.

Q: Has the climate changed on the issue in the past year?

A: Both sides can point to developments they can argue help their positions.

Supporters of concealed carry point to a major U.S. Supreme Court decision last summer that struck down a gun ban in Washington, D.C. They believe that decision can be the legal basis to challenge similar gun control laws enacted elsewhere.

Supporters also point to the Sheriffs’ Association endorsement as a factor in convincing skeptics.

At the same time, the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence points out that the court decision dealt with handguns in the home, not on the street, and that the decision dealt with a federal, not state, law in a federal jurisdiction. The council also points out that other law enforcement groups in Illinois, like the chiefs of police, continue to oppose concealed carry. The council’s Chris Boyster also contended polls regularly show most Illinoisans opposed to concealed carry.

Q: Won’t anti-gun Chicago Democrats kill concealed carry?

A: They’ll certainly have a say, but remember that guns are something that cut across party lines. It’s geographic rather than partisan. Rep. John Bradley is sponsoring one of the concealed carry bills, and he’s a Democrat from Marion. Some Republican female legislators from the suburbs can be as fervently anti-gun as an inner-city lawmaker from Chicago.

Royster said largely rural areas with little crime tend to support concealed carry, while urbanized areas with higher crime oppose it.

Q: So we’re likely to see more onerous gun control laws in Illinois?

A: History says no. It’s a peculiar situation in Illinois. While gun advocates may not be able to muster the votes for something like concealed carry, the anti-gun people have never been able to muster the votes for the most restrictive gun control measures.

Here’s how Bradley reads the 118 votes in the House. About 50-55 are strongly pro-gun. Another 40-45 feel strongly in favor of gun control measures.

“There’s 15 to 20 in the middle who go back and forth,” Bradley said. “That’s where the battle is.”

Bradley figures concealed carry needs 71 votes to have a chance of passing the House, dealing with a potential veto and legal challenges.

“I feel pretty good about (getting) 60 (a House majority). Seventy-one gets a little tougher,” Bradley said.

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

Get real politicians! The gang bangers do NOT have a FOID card or a CCP! Think of all the extra funds there would be to tap into by selling CC permits.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 02/27 at 02:43 PM

Well said bronson….well said !!  Dont ya wish more folks would think about how true, positive pro gun rights, would help society…The true bad guys arent supposed to have guns now anyway ...Eliminating gun rights virtually would change nothing….The bad guys would still be bad and armed with weapon of choice, and the good folks would be raped of their rights and left to be defenseless….Adding some protective rights through educated CCP programs makes total sense…Educate the people!! Teach them safety and handling!!....Dont strip them of their rights !!! Let there be choice in personal life!!

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 03/01 at 12:18 PM

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