Illinois is the final state to pass concealed carry legislagtion

House and Senate Majorities voted to override Governor Quinn’s changes to concealed carry legislation, giving Illinoisans the chance to exercise their Second Amendment rights.

Last month, lawmakers raced to beat a July 9 deadline enacted by the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals by overriding Governor Quinn’s amendatory veto, ushering Illinois into the long line of states to pass a law allowing for the carry of concealed weapons. The federal court stated the ban on concealed carry in Illinois was unconstitutional.

Severe gun violence in Chicago in recent months, including nearly 80 shootings during the July fourth holiday, may have propelled passage of HB 183, the concealed carry legislation. By a vote of 77-31, the House voted in favor of overriding the governor’s veto, and the Senate followed suit with a vote of 41-17, both of which yielded margins that met the three-fifths vote requirement needed to override the governor’s decision.

Campaigning for Change

Quinn had traveled to Chicago to campaign on behalf of the changes he instated to the original legislation perhaps in an effort to make a proactive launch towards next year’s re-election campaign. The campaign could be an uphill battle for the Chicago Democrat against former White House chief of state Bill Daley, a primary critic of Quinn’s stance toward concealed carry.

The Illinois governor believes the legislation does little to protect the citizens of Illinois and argues that the original legislation is full of “shortcomings” that can lead to “tragedies.”

What’s Next?

The new law allows any citizen to purchase a concealed carry permit for $150 as long as he has a Firearm Owner’s Identification card, has passed a background check and has participated in 16 hours of gun safety training. But it will be another nine months before Illinois citizens will be able to reap the benefits of the law. The legislation provides six months for Illinois State Police to create a system for accepting applications and another three months to enforce it.

Aiming to satisfy both gun rights advocates and Democrats cautious of avoiding a repeat of the recent Chicago gun violence, the new legislation does not give law enforcement wide discretion over who is allowed to have permits. At the same time, however, the law provides that those with permits cannot carry guns into schools, libraries, parks and mass transit buses and trains. Much to the governor’s chagrin, the law allows Illinois residents to carry guns into restaurants where alcohol makes up no more than half of gross sales.

Quinn’s amendatory veto bans guns from places where any alcohol is served. Another of Quinn’s provisions keeps citizens from carrying more than one firearm at a time and excludes guns from being concealed on private property unless otherwise noted by the property owner. Employers can also prohibit their employees from concealing guns in the workplace as part of the governor’s plan.

Peoria Weighs In

Some Peorians are pleased to see a concealed carry law finally take shape. “I’d say it’s about time the legislature passed a concealed carry law,” says Dan Harris. “The Second Amendment applies to us just as much as to residents of any other state, and we deserve to exercise our freedom.”

“I would have liked to see some of Quinn’s changes get added to the bill, but at this point I’d say something is better than nothing,” says Pat Hayes. “It’s a start, anyway.”

Others, especially parents of young children, are voicing concern. “With all the tragic shootings that have happened in schools over just the past few years, I’m glad the law is specific about not carrying guns into schools,” says Marianne Miller, a mother of three. “We don’t need anymore violence.”

“I have nothing against Second Amendment rights, but my big concern is guns falling into the wrong hands, especially if you’re in a bar and things get heated,” says Teri White. “Anything can happen.”

Sara Browning

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