Illinois Concealed Carry Supporters Take Gun Battle To Counties

06/24/2011 07:05 pm ET | Updated Aug 24, 2011

Illinois is about to become the last state in the union without some form of concealed carry law on the books, after Wisconsin passed a concealed carry measure last week. Despite continued failures in Springfield, gun rights advocates in Illinois are not backing down--and now want to make the fight more local.

On Thursday, three Illinois lawmakers held a news conference announcing legislation that would allow sheriffs in individual counties to issue gun permits after a county board approves the resident for concealed carry, the Pantagraph reports.

"We're the last state in the country that doesn't have some form of concealed carry," Republican state Rep. Chapin Rose told the News-Gazette. "I can't walk into a coffee shop in the area I represent without somebody, in the first one or two questions, asking when we're going to have concealed carry."

Supporters will have some time to gather votes for the measure, since it likely won't come up for a vote on the House floor until January, according to the Pantagraph.

Even if the bill's sponsors are able to secure votes in the General Assembly, Governor Pat Quinn has renewed his pledge to veto any concealed carry legislation, and says he is glad that Illinois has not joined the rest of the country in allowing residents to carry concealed weapons.

"Unfortunately, in too many places in Illinois, there's a violence epidemic and I believe that we need to address that," Quinn said in Chicago Thursday, according to the News-Gazette. "I do not believe that a law that would allow private individuals to carry loaded concealed weapons on their person in public places is the best way to deal with it."

Rose slammed Chicago-area lawmakers during the Thursday news conference, and said downstate residents overwhelmingly support being able to carry concealed weapons.

“We are sick and tired of being dictated to by people in Chicago,” Rose said.

The Illinois State Rifle Association has also picked on Chicago recently, warning its members to avoid the city as a vacation destination due to an alleged uptick in crime.

"As most of our readers know, the most effective defense a victim could muster against a flash mob would be for the victim to draw a concealed firearm," the ISRA wrote in a fundraising letter to supporters last week. "As most of our readers also know, Illinois is one of only two states in the nation that deny citizens the right to carry defensive firearms."