Illinois is one of two states that do not have any form of concealed carry whatsoever. Bills have been introduced on an annual basis for a number of years now and have always failed. The voting strength of legislators from the Chicago Metro area has been enough to overcome those Downstate Illinois legislators in favor of it.
According to a story in the Springfield State Register-Journal, the tide against concealed carry may be changing.
“The climate is changing,” said Todd Vandermyde, an Illinois lobbyist for the National Rifle Association. “I think we are closer than we have ever been. We will probably have the most aggressive year you’ve ever seen.”
The agrees with what Richard Pearson, executive director of the Illinois State Rifle Association, said at the 2010 Gun Rights Policy Conference. He said that they are going to go “full bore” on concealed carry in the legislature this year along with state pre-emption of municipal gun laws so that they won’t have cities like Chicago interfering with concealed carry laws. He noted that they had gotten the Illinois Sheriffs Association to be supportive of concealed carry and the Illinois Police Chiefs Association and the State Police have been neutralized on the issue. Pearson said “those are big steps in Illinois. If you can get some of the people to back out of the fight and others to join you, it is a big deal.”
This brings us to the gubernatorial race. The unelected Democratic incumbent, Gov. Pat Quinn, is anti-gun, anti-concealed carry, and has been endorsed by the Brady Campaign. Conversely, his opponent, State Senator Bill Brady is both pro-gun and pro-concealed carry. Indeed, Brady has been criticized in ads by Quinn for not supporting more gun control.
Brady was quoted in the same Springfield State Register-Journal story regarding concealed carry:
“Carrying to protect yourself is a right that is afforded to citizens in 48 other states, not Illinois,” Brady said in a written statement issued through his campaign. “With the proper safeguards — including training, education and background checks — it should be legalized in Illinois.”
I don’t if Brady supports “may issue” or “shall issue” concealed carry but this is a definite improvement over Gov. Quinn whose spokesperson, Mica Matsoff, said ““He is not in favor of legalizing conceal and carry.” The spokesperson then adds this non sequitur, “Gov. Quinn believes in keeping the most dangerous guns, such as assault weapons, off of our streets.”
The latest Rasmussen polls show Brady leading Quinn 48% to 36% with 8% undecided and 9% backing other minor candidates. Brady’s support has dropped slightly and Quinn’s rose by 1%.
With a pro-gun governor, concealed carry, and a whole host of legal challenges to gun control laws in the state, Illinois may become a free state again. Or at least a semi-free state.