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Print

Lawmakers try to change new concealed carry law

January 14, 2014 at 01:52 AM

The State Journal-Register


SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Just more than a week into the process of licensing Illinois residents to carry concealed weapons, lawmakers already have attempted to tinker with the new law.

The (Arlington Heights) Daily Herald reported Monday (http://bit.ly/1aWL2xB ) reported Monday that legislators have introduced bills to increase penalties for carrying guns where they're not allowed, including schools; punish instructors who don't carry out training properly; and lower the legal age for carrying.

State Rep. Deborah Conroy, a Villa Park Democrat, said officials from the Elgin School District, the state's second-largest, were amazed to learn the law had changed the penalty for carrying a gun in school from a felony the first time to a misdemeanor the first two times.

Conroy also wants to hike fines for people carrying guns in other places where they're not allowed by the law, such as libraries, parks, and mass transit buses and trains.

Gun-rights advocates want to make the new measure less restrictive, pointing out that laws are only as good as the people who decide to follow them.

"You can limit it for the good guys, but for the bad guys, there's no limit," Pearson said. "We want to make this thing work. We want to make it right. If we do, it could save a lot of lives, and save a lot of money."

Rep. Ed Sullivan, a Mundelein Republican who helped write the concealed carry legislation, agrees. He wants to see how the new law works before changing it. Even he, however, is working on legislation to punish gun-safety instructors who falsify training records in the state with the strictest requirement — 16 hours of instruction. They would serve jail time and lose their carry licenses.

"We have found some instances where people paid for the training, but the instructor just signed off on it," Sullivan said. "Obviously, that's fraud."

Other proposed changes include lowering from 21 to 18 the age at which someone can apply for a license to 18, from 21.

And Democratic state Sen. Dan Kotowski of Park Ridge has introduced a measure to prohibit carrying guns in houses of worship and is planning stricter rules related to guns and mental health issues.

"A vast majority of my district was opposed to it (concealed carry)," Kotowski said. "Now ... they are asking what I am doing to make sure people with mental illness aren't getting access to these weapons."

___

Information from: Daily Herald, http://www.dailyherald.com


Copyright 2014 The Associated Press.

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