As the first crop of Illinois gun owners receive concealed carry permits this week, the state's gun rights lobbyists are already vowing to push the law even further in the coming months.
Gun rights supporters rallied in the state's capital of Springfield Wednesday morning for the group's annual Illinois Gun Owners Lobby Day. The Associated Press reports IGOLD participants want state lawmakers to relax restrictions on where gun owners can take their concealed weapons to include currently banned places like parks, libraries and aboard mass transit.
After its long-standing ban on concealed carry was struck down last year, Illinois became the last state in the nation to allow concealed firearms. About 50,000 people have applied for permits since Illinois State Police began accepting applications in early January and about 5,000 have already been approved, the Sun-Times reports.
State and local law enforcement can object to an applicant's request based on red flags like a criminal history. So far the state's seven-member Concealed Carry Licensing Board has sustained about 100 objections, and overruled about 100 others.
Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart is among the officials who have strenuously objected to the new law, filing hundreds of objections citing arrests for domestic violence, burglary, theft, gang activity and other crimes involving drugs and guns.
“More guns in more public places equals greater potential for gun violence," Dart told The Huffington Post through a spokesman.
Richard Pearson, the executive director for the Illinois State Rifle Association, insists places that ban guns are more inviting for criminal activity, the AP reports.
Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy, another one of the state's most vocal critics of the new law, disagrees. On Tuesday, Chicago's top cop warned of what he called the deadly consequences of having more guns on the streets.
“There are going to be confrontation situations. We’re hearing stories across the country about people getting shot over 'thug music,' right? Or somebody throwing popcorn in a movie theater,” McCarthy told CBS Chicago, referring to the separate killings of Florida teen Michael Dunn and Florida man Chad Oulson.
“These things are going to come, as sure as we’re standing here,” McCarthy said. "Stand by and watch what happens. The answer to gun violence is not more guns.”
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