Firearms law may get new life in House

Springfield – Several members of the General Assembly said in
mid-February that they will again try to pass legislation allowing
Illinois residents to carry concealed weapons.

Meanwhile, support for allowing concealed carry of firearms in
Illinois, which along with Wisconsin are the only two states that
still outlaw it, is coming from an unlikely source: the Illinois
Sheriffs’ Association.

For the first time in its history, the group is taking a stand
in favor of the controversial practice.

State Rep. John Bradley, D-Marion, proposed a bill, HB245, that
would allow residents to obtain concealed firearm permits. It would
require background checks and training in handgun use, safety and
marksmanship.

Similar bills have been introduced in the past, and died with
little support.

But the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling last summer overturning a
handgun ban in Washington, D.C., led to a change of mind for some
Illinoisans.

“Law abiding people were stymied by the fact that we don’t have
a law on the books. Laws don’t stop crooks. Crooks don’t play by
the rules,” Warren County Sheriff Martin Edwards said.

With the Sherriff’s Association in support, State Rep. Bill
Mitchell, R-Forsyth, says he wants concealed weapons legislation to
finally get a hearing in the House.

Supporters of such legislation say the bill would allow citizens
to get permits to carry concealed firearms, but only after gun
owners complete an extensive application process, including
training courses in handgun use, safety and marksmanship.

State Rep. Frank Mautino, D-Spring Valley, said Feb. 9 he is
doubtful legislation will go very far in the Legislature. Rep. Rich
Myers, R-Colchester, said the people in his district are in favor
of the right to carry, so he would be supportive of a conceal and
carry bill.

Missouri passed its conceal-carry law in 2003.

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