* Rep. Brandon Phelps (D-Harrisburg) has introduced a new concealed carry bill. Jamey Dunn has a very good description of the new bill…
Phelps, who has sponsored several versions of a concealed-carry bill throughout the years, said he introduced a bill this session because he wants to negotiate in good faith. “We filed a bill to show people that we do mean what we say about working on this issue.” Phelps, a Harrisburg Democrat, said his new legislation, House Bill 997, is similar to House Bill 48, which failed to get the needed support to pass in the House in the spring of 2011. “Now’s not the time to reinvent the wheel,” he said.
Under the new proposal, applicants must be 21 years old and hold a Firearm Owners Identification (FOID) card. They would be required to undergo four hours of training on topics including: “basic principles of marksmanship, care and cleaning of handguns and laws relating to the justifiable use of force.” They would also have to pass a live fire exercise with a certified instructor. A database of applicant information would be accessible to law enforcement officials. Statistical information about licenses issued by demographics, such as race, age gender or geographic location, would be available to the public. However, information about specific applicants would be exempt from the Freedom of Information Act.
If an applicant met all the requirements in the bill, the legislation requires that the Illinois State Police issue a license within 30 days of receiving his or her application. The state police would be able to consider objections from local law enforcement when processing applications. Those applicants who were granted licenses would be able to carry a loaded or unloaded handgun either concealed or openly in public and while in a vehicle. The measure prohibits guns in certain areas, such as state and federal buildings, and bars firearms at college campuses and schools. Some of those places, such as schools and campuses, could opt to allow concealed-carry if approved by school authorities. Business owners could choose not to allow guns inside their establishments.
The bill would preempt home rule, so it would apply across the state, including in Chicago. The proposal would bar home rule units of government from limiting the number of guns a concealed-carry permit owner could have or requiring that they register the guns they own.
* More from Phelps and a react…
“Since taking office, I have constantly stood up for Illinois citizens’ right to bear arms, and this year will be no different,” Phelps said. “Currently, Illinois is the only state that does not have any form of concealed-carry permits.
“With this added pressure from December’s federal appellate court’s ruling, I think we are the closest we have ever been, and I remain focused on ending the practice of punishing law-abiding citizens by denying them their right to concealed carry.”
Colleen Daley, executive director of the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence, said her organization wants to ensure any concealed-carry bill included “reasonable restrictions,” including better mental health information sharing with the federal government and mandatory background checks for any firearms sales.
“Because of the court’s ruling we are also looking at putting together the most comprehensive and common-sense concealed-carry proposal in the country,” Daley said.
* Rep. Frank Mautino (D-Spring Valley) peers into the future…
“I think chances are good that we’ll vote on it this time around and, in light of recent court decisions, I believe it will pass.”
Discuss, but take a deep breath first, please. These gun conversations are becoming tiresomely obnoxious and repetitive.
Fifteen freshmen members of the Illinois General Assembly will be part of Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon’s new Firearms Working Group.
Simon announced the members on Tuesday. They include 13 Democrats and two Republicans from Chicago, the Chicago suburbs, southern Illinois, northern Illinois and western Illinois. Simon says the group will meet with people on both sides of the gun control debate to better inform legislation.
Simon said Tuesday that both the Illinois State Rifle Association and the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence plan to meet with members to talk about concealed carry legislation.