Concealed carry is now law in Illinois. State lawmakers today overrode Governor Pat Quinn’s proposed changes to gun legislation, just meeting a federal appeals court’s deadline to legalize concealed carry.
That makes Illinois the final state in the nation to allow public possession of concealed guns. However, the move by lawmakers does NOT mean Illinois residents can start carrying today. The Illinois State Police have six months to get ready to accept applications from citizens who want to be licensed to carry a concealed weapon. 300,000 people are expected to apply in the first year.
Amendatory veto overturned
Both the House and Senate returned to Springfield to vote to override Governor Quinn’s amendatory veto of legislation that passed at the end of May. Last week, Quinn introduced a list of changes he wanted made to the legislation, calling them “Keep Illinois Safe.” His amendatory veto included banning guns from any establishment that serves alcohol, limiting concealed carriage to one gun at a time, and requiring anyone carrying a concealed gun to immediately tell a police officer if asked. Some lawmakers were offended by the governor’s veto, saying the details of the legislation had been carefully negotiated over several months. Senate President John Cullerton says some of Quinn’s recommendations may be addressed through later legislation. The Senate had incorporated a few of the changes to the Illinois Firearm Concealed Carry Act before Tuesday’s vote, but they were rejected by the House.
Illinois’ concealed carry law is recognized as the toughest in the nation: it requires background checks, sixteen hours of training from a licensed instructor, and a $150 fee.
Illinois State Police are in the process of developing the system to get people who want to carry a concealed weapon trained and licensed. Meanwhile, they’re working to educate the public on what the next steps will be.
Concealed carry supporter State Senator Dave Syverson (R-Rockford) says the law is not perfect, but it’s a big step in the right direction for gun rights:
“Today, after months of negotiation and hard work, and notwithstanding the Governor’s misguided action, Right-to-Carry is now the law of the land in Illinois. We now join 49 other states with concealed carry in place. This law will make Illinois a safer place to live, work, and raise families.”
Senator Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago) had favored a more restrictive carry bill. But he pointed out that lawmakers could not afford to delay, since they were meeting on the very day of a federal-court deadline to pass concealed carry.
"If the members of this chamber have the interest of public safety at their heart, they would vote 'yes' to override. Because if we do not override, there are no restrictions."
Governor Quinn released the following statement after the Senate vote, and plans to speak with reporters Wednesday in Springfield about the next steps he will take to enact “common-sense gun laws that will protect the people of Illinois.”
“Today’s action by members of the General Assembly was extremely disappointing.
Following a weekend of horrific violence in Chicago in which at least 70 people were shot and 12 killed, this was the wrong move for public safety in Illinois.
Members of the Illinois House could not even manage to pass follow-up legislation that included a few of the critical changes that I outlined last week, such as improved mental health reporting and the duty to immediately inform law enforcement officers of the possession of a loaded concealed weapon.
Throughout the legislative session, I made clear that any concealed carry law must have common-sense standards. I pushed for a ban on assault weapons, limits on high-capacity ammunition magazines and local option for home-rule communities, among other reasonable restrictions. I met with legislators regularly and discussed these standards in my State of the State address and all across the state of Illinois.
Yet, despite my objections, members of the General Assembly surrendered to the National Rifle Association in the waning days of session and passed a flawed bill that allows people to carry guns in establishments that serve alcohol, and allows people to carry unlimited guns and unlimited high-capacity ammunition magazines.
In a supreme overreach, this bill even included the National Rifle Association’s trademark provision – a ban on future assault weapon bans in home-rule communities – which has nothing to do with the concealed carry of handguns.
Public safety should never be compromised or negotiated away.
It was wrong on May 31 and it’s wrong today.
We will keep fighting for these critical provisions that will save lives and establish a better, more responsible concealed carry law in Illinois."