Rather than reignite the debate over concealed carry in the last state to ban it outright, members of the Illinois' Republican Congressional delegation will attempt to force the state's hand with the introduction of a federal concealed-carry bill in the House.
The measure, H.R. 3543, was introduced by U.S. Rep. Tim Johnson (R-Ill.) from the 15th District and would allow nonresidents with valid permits in their home states to carry concealed weapons in Illinois.
In a press release on his website, Johnson called Illinios' concealed carry ban a violation of the 14th Amendment validated by "100 years of Supreme Court rulings."
"Forty-nine other states understand this and have reasonable policies in place to ensure that only law-abiding people willing to go through authorized safety training are permitted this right," Johnson said in a statement. "The only reason Illinois is the exception is Cook County. This is not acceptable."
Johnson's bill is similar to H.R. 822, which would allow people living in "constitutional carry" states to bring their concealed weapons into states with stricter gun laws and has already been referred to the Senate from the House. H.R. 822 would not impact Illinois, however, as a state must have some sort of concealed carry law on the books in order to participate -- which is where Johnson's bill comes in.
Colleen Daley, executive director of the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence, told CBS Chicago that Johnson's bill would put Illinois residents at risk, without protective resources.
"You've got states like Arizona and Florida where you essentially mail in an application for a concealed carry permit," she told CBS. "You want people like that coming into our state, with no laws to protect them?"
In his statement, Johnson argued that, as the only state without a concealed-carry provision, Illinois is unfairly infringing on the rights of its residents.
"Overturning this prohibition in Illinois is long-overdue," Johnson said on his Web site. "Law-abiding citizens deserve the right to protect themselves."
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