Following a federal court’s decision in December that Illinois’s ban on concealed carry was unconstitutional lawmakers were given a hard deadline — June 9 — to draft a bill that would allow law-abiding citizens to carry their firearms in public.
With time running out and that deadline fast approaching it appears that on Friday, the last day of scheduled legislative action, lawmakers in the state Senate representing both sides of the gun debate agreed to terms.
So, after months of contentious negotiation, what will concealed carry look like in the Land of Lincoln?
Well, assuming that the House approves the terms of the bill – HB 183 – and there’s no more legislative hangups, the bill contains the following provisions:
- ‘Shall-issue’ language. The essence of the bill is ‘shall-issue,’ meaning residents could carry concealed provided they meet certain objective qualifications, such as pass a background check and complete a firearms training course.
- ‘May-issue’ qualifier. Yes, while the bill is ‘shall-issue’ for the most part, there is a clause that allows law enforcement to reject an applicant “based upon a reasonable suspicion that the applicant is a danger to himself or herself or others, or a threat to public safety.” Additionally, police must refuse an applicant if he has five or more arrests in last seven years or three or more gang-related arrests in the last seven years.
- CCW licensing review board. The bill sets up a seven-member panel to review the CCW issuance process and to handle any appeals from rejected applicants. The board would consist of: one former federal judge (five years experience), two former federal attorneys (five years experience), three federal agents (five years experience), one mental health expert (five years experience), all will be appointed by the governor and approved by the Senate.
- CCW permit holders would not be allowed to carry in any of the following places: schools, government buildings, public transit, public parks, playgrounds, Cook County Forest Preserve District grounds, community colleges and universities, casinos and racetracks, amusement parks, zoos, stadiums/arenas.
- Concealed carry would be prohibited in bars or places that realize more than 50 percent of their revenue from liquor sales.
- CCW permit holders are prohibited from carrying while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Those who are caught breaking this provision would be charged with a Class A misdemeanor for first or second violations and a Class 4 felony for a third.
- No state preemption of local gun laws. In other words, local laws and ordinances restricting gun ownership — such as Chicago’s ban on so-called ‘assault’ weapons — would not be overridden or effected by the bill. This was one of the more hotly-debated provisions. Pro-gun lawmakers wanted to preempt local gun control laws while pro-gun control lawmakers aimed to keep those ordinances intact and give cities and towns autonomy to pass gun control as they see fit.
- CCW permit holders would be required to take a 16 hour firearms training course, including range time, and pay a $150 fee to obtain the permit (credit to Guns.com reader Michael Whitehead for pointing this out).
Thoughts and analysis
The bill is being sponsored by pro-gun Sen. Gary Forby (D-Benton). Right now, everything is still fluid and it wouldn’t be all that surprising if last minute tweaks or changes were made. So, stay tuned for updates.
That said, it appears that the major issues are settled. No preemption, so Chicago will still retain the ability to restrict the gun rights of responsible gun owners, ‘shall-issue’ language with one key exception, and prohibitions on carrying concealed in a wide variety of public places.
All in all, it’s not ideal, but maybe one could call it progress?
What are your thoughts on the way concealed carry is shaping up in the Land of Lincoln?
[Source: Chicago Sun-Times]