Status Of Concealed Carry In Illinois

Richard Pearson is the Executive Director of the Illinois State Rifle Association. He is on the front line every day in Illinois dealing with the legislature and fighting for gun rights. He released this yesterday regarding concealed carry and HB 148. Also, see Don Moran’s note that ISRA’s fight against the Cook County Assault Weapons Ban is continuing.

There has been a great deal of conjecture out there about what we are going to do after placing HB148 on postponed consideration. First let me explain what postponed consideration means.

It simply means the sponsor with drew the bill before the vote could be recorded. The bill is still alive and will be until the second Wednesday in January 2013. This means we can bring the bill back during veto session, next session, or next veto session.

You will not see HB148 brought up again before May 31st ,which is the end of the Spring 2011 session. There is no way to do it and have any better results. Long before the vote it was decided that if the bill did not pass we would sue the State of Illinois over the inability of Illinois citizens to defend themselves outside of their home. Illinois is the only state that does not allow either open carry or concealed carry. We have now begun the legal challenges to the Illinois laws with the NRA. The is another challenge from the Second Amendment Foundation on a similar basis. Illinois is now facing two law suits over the inability of Illinois citizens being able to defend themselves outside their homes. Brandon Phelps the CCW sponsor warned the House of Representatives that they would be in court if the bill was not passed. Within seven days we delivered on that promise. If we get CCW by court order I am happy with that. If it comes by court order the legislature will have to still enact some legislation but they will find their hands are tied. We offered a good bill and they turned it down.

These lawsuits will take time to make their way through the court system. There is a great deal of work that goes into these suits every day before they are heard in court. It is not a simple thing to file a law suit. There is always on going work behind the scenes. Be patient.

We promised that in 2011 we would get a up and down vote on CCW and we did. We had
to probe and find out the other side’s strengths, weakness, and reactions. We have done that. There were a few surprises but not many. We have a lot of work to do in the next few months. This effort has taken a toll on our resources and our energy. We have to develop new strategies and reinforce old ones that work. We are not quitting. Remember we fiercely believe in the Second Amendment and the right to self defense. We will win this battle. As I reminded one of our opponents – “You don’t defeat us- we just fall back reload and attack again.”

Note by Don Moran, ISRA President: This summer will see a lot of activity in relation to HB-148 and all the pending litigation ISRA is involved in, Ezell v Chicago (Chicago range suit), Wilson v Cook County (Cook County Assault Weapon Ban), ISRA v ISP (FOID Privacy), and ISRA v Madigan (Carry suit). It is very important that we are able to contact as many of you and your friends as possible quickly when action is needed. I know you get tired of hearing it, but funding all this
requires constant vigilance as well. We’ve put on even more lobbyists this year and we are now involved in an incredible amount of litigation on behalf of Illinois firearm owners. When people ask you, who is the ISRA, or what has ISRA done for me lately, let them know all of the above, and then ask them what have they are doing for the fight RIGHT NOW? We need their help as well.

UPDATE: Wilson v Cook County, the ISRA’s suit seeking to overturn the
Cook County Assault Weapon ban, was granted leave to appeal by the Illinois
Supreme Court yesterday, meaning the Court will hear the case.

ISRA Says Anti-Gun Legislators Only Have Themselves To Blame For Lawsuits

The Illinois State Rifle Association release the following which notes that the failure to pass HB 148 robs the Illinois State Police of money needed to upgrade their background check system and is directly responsible for the lawsuits filed by the NRA, ISRA, and the Second Amendment Foundation.

SPRINGFIELD, Ill., May 15, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The following was released today by the Illinois State Rifle Association (ISRA):

Illinois gun control advocates and their allies in the General Assembly delivered a “triple-whammy” against public safety recently when they sabotaged passage of HB148.

Under the provisions of HB148, well-trained, well-qualified Illinois citizens would be permitted to carry defensive firearms to protect themselves and their families from violent criminals. At the same time, HB148 would have provided upwards of $40 million in permit fees to the Illinois State Police to pay for upgrades to the state’s antiquated gun buyer background check system.

But, thanks to the short-sighted efforts of the gun control movement and its friends in the Illinois House, tens of thousands of law-abiding Illinois citizens will continue to suffer at the hands of murderers, robbers and rapists because they cannot lawfully defend themselves. Likewise, the gun control movement can take credit for saddling the state police with a background check system based on software developed in 1959.

Rounding out the triple whammy-against the citizens of Illinois is the fact that the actions of gun control advocates are to blame for a pair of lawsuits filed this week in federal court against the State of Illinois. Both lawsuits – one filed by the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF), the other filed by the National Rifle Association (NRA) and the ISRA – contend that the state is damaging law-abiding citizens by prohibiting the carrying of defensive firearms.

In a nut shell, the gun control movement’s efforts the kill HB148 have ensured that Illinois remains one of the most dangerous places to live in the United States. In addition to causing the loss of $40 million for better background checks, the gun control movement is now responsible for Illinois having to shell out millions in taxpayer dollars to pay legal bills related to the SAF and NRA/ISRA lawsuits. Once again, the extremist views of the gun control movement are costing the good people of Illinois dearly.

“The ISRA is very excited about being a plaintiff in the NRA/ISRA lawsuit,” commented ISRA Executive Director, Richard Pearson. “This lawsuit defines the cutting edge of one of the most important questions of the day. That is, does the state have the right to decide who is worth defending and who is not?”

“The fact that two lawsuits have been filed against the State of Illinois this week is proof-positive that this issue is not going to go away,” continued Pearson. “The behind the scenes political gamesmanship that resulted in the scuttling of HB148 has not diminished the resolve of the good people of Illinois. Whether it is in the courts, in the legislature, or at the ballot box, we will relentlessly push forward until the citizen’s right to self defense is restored in Illinois.”

The ISRA is the state’s leading advocate of safe, lawful and responsible firearms ownership. For more than a century, the ISRA has represented the interests of millions of law-abiding Illinois firearm owners.

ISRA Exec. Director On Concealed Carry Vote

Richard Pearson is the Executive Director of the Illinois State Rifle Association. He has spent many years in Springfield fighting for gun rights in the state of Illinois. He released this statement late last night on the failure of HB-148 – the Illinois concealed carry bill – to get the super-majority needed.

5 May 2011

I know you are all down in the dumps about today’s vote but you should not be. I’m not saying you should be happy either. Be pragmatic. That will be hard for everyone on our side of this issue, I realize.

We put 68 votes on the board our first time out. That is great. I know in the end we wound up with 65 and we needed 71. The Mayor and the Governor were threatening everyone they could and we only missed by a few votes. We had promises that weren’t kept, because the threats from the mayor carried more weight than we could deliver, today.

That’s life in Springfield. I know many of you and many of our members see things in black and white. If you ever come across anything in Springfield that is either pure white or completely black run away as fast as you can. It’s a trap. Ask some of our former Governors!

We know who voted one way or the other and why. We will take care of it. I’m not saying that some people shouldn’t be put in the spot light, but not all should because that will solidify their position against us. Some need to be finessed.

If there were a few legislators that need to be in the spotlight, Farnham, Crespo, and Monique Davis would be the three that I would pick.

So where are we? The bill was put on postponed consideration. That means it can be called anytime between now and the second Wednesday in 2013. Now that we have probed and found out the weak spots we can begin working on the bill again.

Firearm owners in Illinois are not the second class citizens Mayor Daley makes us out to be. He asked today for a publicly funded protection detail, once he is retired! Once he is retired, he is a common citizen just like the rest of us. I can’t get the state of Illinois or my city to provide me with armed guards to watch out for me and neither should he.

Fox News Chicago reported this evening that NRA will file a law suit against the state of Illinois and there will be NO input from the Legislature once litigation commences. I am not sure what their sources are, but it was alluded to during the closing statement at the end of debate.

Representative Phelps put a lot of work into this bill. He invited all sides in to negotiate any issues they had with the bill. Conspicuously absent from those discussions was the city of Chicago. They were invited, but never even gave the courtesy of a response.

ISRA Members and our supporters are not quitters and we’re not done. Adversity makes us stronger! We WILL WIN THIS!

Vote On Illinois HB 148 – 65 to 32

The Illinois State Rifle Association just posted this on their Facebook page.

The bill failed to garner the necessary 71 votes, (65 Yea) and has been placed on postponed consideration. That means the bill is still active and is not dead.

I guess the good news is that it isn’t dead. Still it would be nice to see Illinois join Free State status.

UPDATE: Thirdpower at Days of our Trailers has more on what went on today here. Also read the comments on the bill below from Randian and David Lawson.

Maybe He Should Apply For A Concealed Carry Permit

Now that Mayor Richard M. Daley is leaving office he wants to keep a few perks of the office. Namely, he wants to keep at least three (and preferrably five) of his Chicago Police Department bodyguards to protect him in retirement. It is also reported by Sun-Times columnist Michael Sneed that Daley is requesting two cars to be put at his disposal – one for him and one for his wife.

The head of the local Fraternal Order of Police took issue with Daley’s request for these bodyguards. It should be noted that the Chicago PD is now over 2,300 officers short of its authorized strength.

The head of the police union called the mayor’s request for bodyguards after he leaves office ill-timed and “ridiculously excessive.”

“It’s another example of excessive use of manpower and resources during an extreme shortage,” said Michael Shields, president of the Fraternal Order of Police.

Daley, as might be expected, disagreed and said his request was “appropriate”. His predecessor, Harold Washington, died in office and Washington’s predecessor, Jane Byrne, wasn’t given a bodyguard when she left office. I guess appropriate is in the eye of the beholder.

I’d normally suggest that if Mayor Daley is concerned for his safety and that of his family then he should apply for a concealed carry permit. However, due to the efforts of Mr. Daley and his Chicago Democratic Machine, the State of Illinois still doesn’t have concealed carry. And if Governor Pat Quinn – another politician from the Chicago Democratic Machine – is true to this word, HB 148 will be vetoed even if it does pass the Illinois House and Senate.

Life can be tough out in the real world. Daley’s efforts to keep the people of Chicago and the State of Illinois unarmed and defenseless are now coming back to bite him. As they say, payback is a bitch.

Divergent Editorials On Concealed Carry In Illinois

With HB 148 – the Illinois right-to-carry bill – probably coming up for a vote today, I thought it would be interesting to contrast the divergent viewpoints on the issue from Chicago and Southern Illinois newspapers.

The Chicago Tribune ran an editorial on Wednesday entitled “Street Heat? Say No”. The editorial does acknowledge that Illinois is an outlier when it comes to concealed carry but then goes on to say “Outlier or not, we still think it would be a mistake to encourage people to walk around with guns.”

The Tribune editorial glosses over the research that shows crime rates decline or, at the very least, do not go up when concealed carry laws are implemented.

Bottom line: Concealed-carry laws don’t seem to have a significant impact on violence one way or the other. The odds aren’t much greater that you’re going to wind up successfully defending yourself with a gun on the street, or that you’re going to mistakenly or intentionally plug somebody with a bullet. There are cases, though, where licensed holders do commit violence.

They claim the HB 148’s authors recognize the potential for “mayhem” by restricting where concealed carry would be allowed under the bill. They then go on to attack all the places where concealed carry would be allowed.

Finally, despite being endorsed by the Illinois Sheriffs Association and the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police along with organizations for the Chicago PD’s sergeants and lieutenants, the editorial claims CCW  raises public safety concerns for local cops. I believe that by this they mean the hierarchy of the Chicago Police Department and no one else. They conclude their editorial opposing CCW by saying:

We see more problems here. The background check procedures for issuing a state firearm owner’s identification card are not foolproof. The state lacks enough control over the private sale of guns.

This bill needs an extraordinary majority to pre-empt local authority and to survive a veto from the governor. We urge lawmakers to reject it. The safety and well-being of the people of Illinois doesn’t start with the power to pack heat on the street.

In stark contrast to this fear-mongering editorial from the Chicago Tribune is an editorial in today’s Belleville News-Democrat. They take strong exception to Governor Pat Quinn playing the “fear card” when he says concealed carry will “to more danger and more bad things happening.”

That line might work if Illinois were the first state to consider concealed carry. But 48 of the 50 states already have concealed carry, with no horrible impact on public safety. That’s because the people who apply for a concealed-carry permits and are willing to undergo the required background checks and training are not the people out robbing and killing. They want this law to enhance public safety, not hurt it.

Whether HB 148 would improve safety is a matter for debate, but it’s safe to say that passage of the bill would not make Illinois a more dangerous place.

While stopping short of endorsing the bill, the editorial recognizes that CCW will not make Illinois like the so-called Wild West and that criminals are already carrying concealed. It is interesting to note of the nine comments on this editorial, eight support concealed carry and only one opposes it.

Concealed Carry In Illinois – David and Colleen Lawson’s View

I had the distinct pleasure of meeting both David and Colleen Lawson in Pittsburgh at the NRA Annual Meeting. They attended the Second Amendment Blog Bash on Thursday night. I thanked them both for being plaintiffs in McDonald et al v. Chicago et al.

While I did speak a bit with David, I spent more time with Colleen. She is extremely charming and engaging. You knew from the get-go that she was passionate about concealed carry and about being able to protect her children. Part of the story the Lawsons relate below she shared with me in Pittsburgh. I find it hard to believe that she and David were the only two who wanted concealed carry in Rep. John D’Amico’s district.

If you live in Illinois and read this blog, please make the effort to call your representative as the Lawsons request below. It is important if you want a chance at the right to carry in the State of Illinois.

HB148 – A personal message from Colleen and David Lawson

Dear ISRA members,
As you may know, my husband and I were two of the four Chicago resident plaintiffs in the historic McDonald v. Chicago lawsuit that the ISRA and SAF successfully brought against Chicago’s draconian handgun regulations.

Unfortunately, that has not stopped our family from being victims of armed crime outside of our homes. Even with that legislation, all of our children have been victims of armed criminals; not once, but numerous times. Now that we can legally possess handguns in our homes, David and I are actively pushing for Right-to-Carry in Illinois.

Currently we have a Right-to-Carry bill in front of our state legislators. This bill is numbered HB-148 and is titled “The Family and Personal Protection Act”.

HB-148 is expected to be voted on in less than a week. As the only state in the entire country without any legislation allowing any form of right to carry provision for law-abiding citizens, David and I cannot stress enough how critical this vote will be for us and for you and your families.

This is the closest we have ever come to a possibility of having this civil right finally restored in our lives.

In order for the bill to pass into law, we must have a majority of 71 votes of “Yes!” from our State Representatives.

Governor Quinn has vowed to veto HB-148 if it should pass the house, though lately he has come away from that position and says he will give our bill its due consideration. With 71 yes votes, Governor Quinn’s veto cannot stand, and we who live in the only American state that guarantees its victims to be legally powerless against criminals – can finally remove that guarantee and defend ourselves and our families on the streets of Illinois.

How can we get these yes votes? There is only one way: And that is for YOU to call. And call again. And call again. It is no secret that Chicago area legislators are the ones who have consistently stopped RTC. But with the Heller and McDonald decisions, more Chicagoans than ever are waking up to the fact that RTC is a civil right, and a vital legislation, and that denying it to Illinoisans is wrong and harmful. David and I plead with you now: Don’t let Chicago’s wake-up call go unanswered.

At many of our 2nd Amendment speaking opportunities, Illinois gun rights supporters have promised to stand with us in our battle against Chicago’s anti-gun tyranny. Now is the time for us to call in those markers. We desperately need Chicago area state Representatives to hear from pro-gun constituents.

The lobbyists and volunteers from NRA, ISRA and IllinoisCarry have spent many, many hours working with pro-2nd-amendment legislators on HB-148. The lobbyists, volunteers and sponsoring legislators have spent further time talking with the representatives who are undecided. I personally spent two days in Springfield last week, speaking with as many senators and reps as I could reach, and from those who were undecided – or against – this bill, I heard the same two responses time and again.

1) I’m afraid it will bring the ‘wild west’ and
2) My constituents don’t want it.

You already know that RTC does not bring the ‘wild west’. Now please take the time to call your IL State Representative and tell him or her that you DO want RTC in Illinois – you DO want HB-148.

Our family resides in IL House District 15, which is the district for Representative John D’Amico. This district encompasses parts of northwest Chicago, Lincolnwood, and Morton Grove, and other communities.

Rep. D’Amico called me directly this week and told me that my husband and I are his only two constituents in favor of Right-to-Carry (HB-148) and that every other constituent is opposed.

He also told assured me that “no one is walking around carrying handguns in my district!” despite the fact that he and I had just minutes before discussed several instances where my family members were robbed at gun-point, directly across the street from D’Amico’s Chicago district office and before that, just one block east of his office.

I would like D’Amico to receive enough of your calls, on the record, that he cannot possibly say that he has never received a call in support of RTC. If you are in the 15th District, please call John D’Amico at (217) 782-8198.

For those in other districts, you can find your Representative at

Remember to be polite, as you will most likely be speaking to an over-worked admin and also, you are all 2nd Amendment Ambassadors.

Now is the time to stand up for our 2nd Amendment rights as we only have a few days remaining before the vote will be called on HB-148.

Thank you so much,
Colleen and David Lawson