Shortly after the Illinois House of Representatives passed a monumental concealed carry bill, the state Senate followed suit in a 45-12 vote last week. According to Reuters, the bill now moves to Governor Pat Quinn, but its passing is almost a near certainty as the number of votes in both the House and Senate are more than enough to override a possible veto.
This might mean that Illinois will no longer be the only state in the country that holds an outright ban of concealed weapons. The ban was struck down last year by a federal appeals court, which gave Illinois lawmakers 180 days to craft a new, constitutionally acceptable law. The result was a compromise between legislators that eventually became SB 2193 and HB 183, its House counterpart.
The bill will in essence change Illinois into a “shall-issue” state as well as setting up a seven-member permit review board to be appointed by the governor. If passed, the legislation will allow concealed carry except at some public places such as schools, parks, government facilities, and bars where alcoholic drinks account for over 50 percent of sales. Many restaurants will not be prohibiting concealed firearms.
The Chicago Tribune reports that applicants for concealed weapons permit must complete 16 hours of training before obtaining a firearm as well as passing a background test. If approved, the applicant would receive a five-year permit. Law enforcement retains the ability to reject applicants based on their previous arrest record, or if they are considered a danger to themselves or others.
Legislators noted that the compromise did not make everyone happy, including some who thought the new bill was too restrictive. Other lawmakers thought the bill was too loose in regards to where gun owners can carry concealed weapons, such as restaurants where alcohol is served. Notably, Governor Quinn previously opposed the legislation. For the bill’s sponsors however, it was a compromise that while not perfect, created a timely solution before the allotted 180 days ran out.
“We got a bill everybody can live with,” said Senator Gary Forby (D-Benton).
For many of the state’s gun owners, the bill was a long time coming. The state’s most recent concealed carry ban was enacted in 1962.
“We all know but for the Constitution and the federal court, we might not be here today,” said Senator Bill Brady, (R-Bloomington). “I think what’s most important is like 49 other states in the nation, the citizens of Illinois will enjoy a right and will become comfortable with because we crafted a good law, at least as a start.”