Illinois House passes concealed carry legislation

The last state in America holding on to a complete ban on the concealed carry of guns by law-abiding citizens might finally give up that dubious distinction. The IL House has passed a measure to enact a “shall issue” permitting process statewide:

Gun owners could carry concealed weapons in Illinois, the last state in the nation to prohibit it, under legislation that swept through the House Friday with the backing of the powerful Democratic speaker from Chicago, a city torn by violence despite what critics claim are the nation’s toughest firearms restrictions.

The historic 85-30 vote would allow the carrying of concealed guns, a legislative task compelled by a federal appeals court ruling and precipitated by House Speaker Michael Madigan’s turnabout.

IL’s citizens are finally going to have the liberty possessed by the rest of the states in that they’ll be able to carry concealed. They’ll have the added bonus of being able to get a permit unless someone can show a good reason they shouldn’t, as opposed to having some sheriff be able to demand they convince him to allow it. Of course, there are those in opposition:

But its obliteration of all local gun laws, including Chicago’s ban on assault-style weapons, drew immediate resistance from Gov. Pat Quinn, a Chicago Democrat like Madigan. Quinn said the proposal endangers the public by pre-empting local gun laws, which have nothing to do with concealed carry, the only subject covered by the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals’ decree.

"We need strong gun-safety laws that protect the people of our state. Instead, this measure puts public safety at risk," Quinn said in a prepared statement.

Senate President John Cullerton, another Democrat from Chicago, called the pre-emption provision "offensive." Cullerton said he would meet privately with his majority caucus Monday to decide how to proceed. A Senate concealed-carry plan, which overrules local control only by requiring a statewide carry program, is on the Senate floor awaiting a vote.

“Obliteration of al local gun laws” is called “pre-emption” and what it means is that the state’s residents can expect to be treated uniformly by the law everywhere they go in the state, rather than have to navigate a minefield of local ordinances they would have no real way of understanding. Quinn’s bleating about putting “public safety at risk” is the same old, tired canard that gets pulled out every time gun-banners run into the force of law that says they can’t restrict someone’s rights protected by the 2nd Amendment. Dire predictions of how people are going to be gunned down over arguments about parking spaces have not – ever – been borne out and make no mistake: that’s precisely the image Quinn and his kind are trying to paint.

Chicago’s laws, particularly, have been literally the most restrictive in the nation since DC got smacked around in the Heller decision and the public’s safety has been worse there than just about anywhere in the country. As I have said repeatedly and as the FBI’s studies have proven, you might be able to argue that more guns in the hands of law-abiding citizens doesn’t necessarily mean less crime, but you can absolutely not argue that more guns in their hands mean more crime. It doesn’t, period. And if it doesn’t, then there’s no compelling reason or state interest in restricting citizens’ rights to keep and bear arms.

IL’s Senate could even consider this concealed carry measure to be a blessing. If you have to allow citizens to keep and bear arms – and you do, if you truly claim to support the Constitution – then allowing them to do so concealed keeps all those offensive-looking guns out of your view.

I’m glad to see this kind of movement in IL and hope the Senate there will do the right thing. Pass this legislation and let IL’s citizens exercise their constitutional rights.