Illinois Becomes 50th State to Legalize Carrying Concealed Guns
On July 9, 2013 Illinois became the 50th state to legalize the carry of concealed guns. Members of the House and Senate overrode Governor Pat Quinn’s veto of the concealed carry legislation by 77-31 and 41-17 margins, respectively.
On Dec. 11, 2012 the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Moore v. Madigan struck down an Illinois state law passed in 1962 that broadly prohibited carrying a gun in public. The Illinois General Assembly faced a court-imposed deadline of July 9, 2013 to pass legislation giving residents the right to carry concealed firearms in public. Members of the General Assembly passed House Bill 183 on May 31, but the legislation was vetoed by Quinn on July 2. Quinn sought to ban firearms from establishments that sell any alcohol, limit a person to carrying one concealed firearm at a time, and restrict magazines for concealed weapons to no more than ten rounds. Three-fifths of the House and Senate had to vote in favor of the bill to override the Governor’s veto.
The law permits residents who have passed a background check and completed 16 hours of gun safety training to purchase a concealed-carry license for $150 ($300 for non-residents). The license is valid for five years, and names of license holders will be withheld from public view. License holders must be 21 years old, guns may be loaded or unloaded, and guns will not be allowed on public or private school premises. The bill also bans concealed guns in businesses where alcohol is a majority of the sales, and it bans licenses for those “addicted to narcotics.”
According to Monique Bond, spokeswoman for the Illinois State Police, the agency projects that about 300,000 people will apply for concealed-carry licenses once the applications go into place sometime between January and April of 2014. The agency expects to spend $25 million setting up a new concealed-carry unit that will handle background checks for applicants, and officials have begun working on implementing new training for officers on how to handle citizens with concealed-weapons licenses, Bond said.
“This is a historic, significant day for law-abiding gun owners,” said Rep. Brandon Phelps, a Democrat from Harrisburg. “They finally get to exercise their Second Amendment rights… [Quinn] thumbed his nose at our compromise. This sends a pretty strong message to the governor that he was wrong the whole time.”
Governor Quinn stated “I believe in gun safety, and I’m going to always speak out about that. I don’t think people should have their lives and property harmed by people with loaded concealed weapons who don’t, under the law, deserve to have them.”
Illinois General Assembly, “HB0183 Enrolled,” ilga.gov, July 9, 2013
Savanna Evans, “Illinois Governor Upset about Concealed Carry Approval,” kbur.com, May 24, 2013
Ginny Fahs, “Illinois Is 50th State to Legalize Carrying Concealed Weapons,” npr.org, July 10, 2013
Ray Long, “General Assembly Overrides Governor’s Veto of Concealed Carry Bill,” chicagotribune.com, July 9, 2013
John O’Connor, “Illinois Enacts Nation’s Final Concealed-Gun Law,” bigstory.ap.org, July 9, 2013
Matt Pearce, “Illinois to End Ban on Carrying Concealed Guns,” latimes.com, July 10, 2013