Chicago community leaders have formed a new coalition to help keep Illinois the lone state that bans concealed carry, running in direct opposition to a vocal bipartisan minority downstate that wants to see the ban lifted.
Monday, the "Stop Concealed Carry Coalition" announced it would fight any bill that would legalize carrying concealed firearms in Illinois, according to the Chicago Tribune.
The coalition includes Alderman Ricardo Munoz (22nd), Cook County Commissioner Larry Suffredin and Father Michael Pfleger, among others, reports WBEZ. According to a statement, the coalition has already collected more than 6,700 signatures on an anti-concealed carry petition the group plans to deliver to state lawmakers and Gov. Pat Quinn.
The Illinois legislature's veto session starts Tuesday, where lawmakers could vote on a bill that would end the state's ban on concealed weapons. In early November, nine, mostly rural, counties voted on non-binding ballot measures that supported concealed carry in Illinois.
Wisconsin ended its concealed carry ban in 2011, leaving Illinois the last state with a ban. Chicago politics have typically leaned anti-gun, with many coalition members viewing Illinois' holdout status positively.
"Thank God Illinois can be an example and not be pressured into following the rest of the country," Father Michael Pflager said, according to the Tribune.
“Those who have tried to make guns part of America’s wardrobe and folks like the NRA and others, who work very hard to try to impose fear among so many people to think a gun is the only way to protect you,” Pfleger said on CBS Chicago.
The coalition is concerned the state's 26 lame duck lawmakers could pass legislation before Illinois' new General Assembly is seated in January, reports NBC Chicago.