Facing a June 9th deadline, it looks like the Illinois State House might be able to pass a compromise bill. They have already shot down Rep. Brandon Phelps’ (D-Harrisburg) shall-issue bill as well as a may-issue bill. The compromise bill is just that – it doesn’t really satisfy either side but it may be the best one can get given the bifurcated nature of Illinois politics.
The Illinois State Rifle Association released the following alert this afternoon. It is important to note that they are neutral on the bill.
CCW BILL ALERT – SB 2193 – VIABLE PROPOSAL ON THE TABLE
After many years of working to advance a Right to Carry bill, there is a viable proposal on the table. This bill, SB 2193, sponsored by Representative Brandon Phelps, is not a perfect bill but it does have several good points, for example:
Statewide pre-emption of all gun laws
Commercially available training
Vehicles will be a safe haven
However, the bill does call for:
16 hours of training, although some previous training will count toward those hours
$150.00 license fee, for five years
Carry on mass transportation prohibited
This bill, if passed, will bring Right to Carry to Illinois, but due to the restrictions in the bill we are neutral on the bill.
While many people have been involved in this effort, Representative Brandon Phelps has demonstrated superior leadership and should be commended for his resolve.
The actual bill is being offered as an amendment to SB 2193. The language of the amendment can be found here.
According to the Rockford Register Star, the National Rifle Association has not taken a position on the bill.
“It’s a combination, a balance of both sides,” Phelps said, adding that he believes pro-gun groups such as the National Rifle Association have not taken a position on the bill. The NRA endorsed previous versions sponsored by Phelps.
Todd Vandermyde, chief lobbyist for the National Rifle Association in Illinois, declined to comment Wednesday and deferred all questions to the organization’s national headquarters. NRA officials could not be reached for comment.
The biggest plus of the bill is that it does away with home-rule by Chicago and Cook County on firearms laws. This would mean that items like the Chicago’s rules for issuance of firearms license would be gone as would Cook County AWB. This post from Illinois gun rights group GunsSaveLife.com does a good job in pointing the full impact of getting rid of home-rule on firearms laws. They contend that by agreeing to this House Speaker Michael Madigan has thrown Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle under the bus.
Thirdpower who is an Illinois resident finds it to be a particularly unappetizing sandwich.
Miguel at GunFreeZone gives his opinion here. He believes we’re getting shafted by the bill.
My feeling is that it’s a shall-issue bill, with preemption. It’s the
final offer from the leadership. I’d take the deal and then work to
improve the bill through legislation, and I’d re-litigate over the steep
fees and argue that many of the places you’re prohibited from carrying
are not “sensitive places” per the Heller decision.
The Rockford Register Star article details the prohibited places referred to by Sebastian.
Weapons would be prohibited from special events open to the public, schools, amusement parks, zoos and museums, libraries, property owned by park districts, playgrounds, universities and colleges, state and federal buildings, sporting events, residential mental health facilities, and police stations. Guns would be barred from parking lots under ownership of these places.
If riding public transit, an individual’s gun would have to be unloaded and stored away in a backpack or other carry-on bag.
One other thing about the bill – it has no provision for reciprocity with other states. The argument given by Rep. Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago) is that other states’ mental health reporting laws are weaker than that of Illinois. If you want to carry in Illinois and you aren’t a resident, it will cost you $300 plus you have to meet their training requirements.
If the pro-gun proponents of this bill are correct, future changes to the firearms laws will only take a simple majority instead of a 3/5’s majority since home rule provisions will be eliminated. If correct, I think you might see more changes in the Illinois gun laws in the future. There has been a majority to liberalize the state’s gun laws but not a super-majority.
Regardless of what happens in the State House, the bill will still have to pass the State Senate.
UPDATE: Please see the comment below from David Lawson. He and his wife Colleen were co-plaintiffs along with Otis McDonald in the ground-breaking Second Amendment case of McDonald v. Chicago. The Lawsons have been at the forefront of the fight for gun rights in the state of Illinois for many years. His perspective on these issues is important and should be given heed.