A Round-Up On The Compromise CCW Bill In Illinois

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.


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:

  • Shall issue
  • 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.

Sebastian thinks it might be the best we can get right now.

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.

Shall Issue Concealed Carry Bill Introduced In Illinois

Illinois State Rep. Brandon Phelps (D-Harrisburg) introduced HB997 – the Family and Personal Protection Act – yesterday. This bill would, if passed, would bring shall-issue concealed carry to Illinois.

From the bill’s synopsis:

Creates the Family and Personal Protection Act.
Provides that the Department of State Police shall issue a license to a
person to: (1) carry a loaded or unloaded handgun on or about his or her
person, concealed or otherwise; (2) keep or carry a loaded or unloaded
handgun on or about his or her person when in a vehicle; and (3) keep a
loaded or unloaded handgun openly or concealed in a vehicle. Prohibits
the carrying of the handgun in certain locations. Provides that the
license shall be issued by the Department of State Police within 30 days
of receipt of a completed application and shall be valid throughout the
State for a period of 5 years from the date of issuance. Provides for
renewal of licenses. Establishes qualifications for licensees, certified
firearms instructors, and instructor trainers. Provides for home rule
preemption. Provides that the provisions of the Act are severable.
Amends the Freedom of Information Act. Prohibits from inspection and
copying information about applications for licenses to carry a handgun
and about license holders contained in the database created by the
Family and Personal Protection Act, except as authorized by that Act.
Amends the State Finance Act and the Criminal Code of 2012 to make
conforming changes. Effective immediately.

Having read the bill in its entirety, let me highlight key components of the bill.

First and foremost, this bill provides for Shall-Issue concealed carry permits. The permit would allowed a permit holder to (a) carry a firearm, loaded or unloaded, “concealed or otherwise”, on his or her person; (b) on his or her person in a motor vehicle; or (c) in a vehicle either openly or concealed while not on the person. Concealed is defined by the law to mean “completely or mostly concealed”. This should take care of the issue of incidental exposure or printing. Moreover, as I read “concealed or otherwise”, I think a strong argument could be made that this would make open carry permissible with a CCW.

The Illinois State Police will be in charge of issuing the permit. The fee is $25 to apply with a 30-day turnaround time. As I noted above, the permit is shall-issue. However, a sheriff or municipal chief law enforcement officer can object in writing to the issuance of a permit to an individual especially if they feel the person would be a danger to him or herself or others. The burden of proof is upon the state to prove this and the applicant has a right to know. Applicants consent to a complete background check including psych records and juvenile court records. Applicants “may” be requested to provide fingerprints with the cost to the applicant of no more than $15.

Illinois residents with a current out-of-state carry permit would be allowed to carry concealed for up to 180 days after enactment. After that, they would be required to have an Illinois CCW.

Section 25 of the bill sets the qualifications:

  • Age 21 or more
  • Valid FOID card if a resident
  • Not prohibited by either state or Federal law from possessing a firearm
  • Not under pending arrest warrant that would be a disqualifying offense
  • Not a chronic abuser of alcohol in prior 3 years as evidence by either (a) residential or court-ordered detox or treatment for alcohol abuse or (b) 2 or more DUIs.
  • Has completed approved training and education component

The state – and only the state – will keep a database of all permit holders. No local law enforcement agency or local government may keep their own database. Violations of this incur a $5,000 per record punitive fine. The state database would be available to all law enforcement agencies but individual records would not be subject to freedom of information requests. The only public data provided from this database would be statistics showing permits by county, age, gender, or race.

Permit renewals would cost $25 and require a shooting requalification. This could be satisfied by either shooting in a competition such as IDPA or USPSA within six months of renewal or by showing evidence of a range exercise with a certified instructor.

The bill does provide for non-resident permits and waives the FOID card requirement. It would require a notarized statement from the home state that the person is eligible under state and Federal law to possess a firearm. More importantly, the bill provides for reciprocity with other states that recognize the Illinois permit and that have substantially similar requirements to that of Illinois.

The bill does have a substantial list of restricted areas which would apply to where a permit holder could carry concealed. There are exceptions in some of these areas if consent is given or if the holder is a judge or a State’s Attorney.

  • Any building under control of the Illinois General Assembly including district offices. Members could carry concealed in their district offices.
  • Courthouses
  • Meeting places of local governments
  • Bars but not restaurants that merely serve alcohol
  • Airport secure areas
  • Area prohibited by Federal law
  • K-12 schools without consent
  • Child care facilities without consent
  • Casino
  • Gated areas of amusement parks
  • Stadiums and other sports venues
  • Colleges and universities without consent
  • Public libraries without consent
  • Police stations and sheriff’s offices without consent
  • Prisons, jails, and other correctional facilities

Businesses would be allowed to post against concealed carry and the bill does specify the posting requirements. Local governments and school boards may prohibit by a majority vote concealed carry in any building controlled by them. However, they cannot prohibit carry in public housing, rest stops, public right of ways, or parking facilities. State buildings under the control of the Governor, Lt. Governor, Attorney General, Secretary of State, Comptroller, or Treasures would be allowed to be posted against concealed carry.

Permit holders would be required to disclose if carrying as soon as possible if stopped by law enforcement officers. The bill prohibits carrying under the influence which is defined as 0.08 blood alcohol or higher.

The training requirements can be fulfilled by passing the NRA Basic Pistol course, the NRA Personal Protection in the Home course, the NRA Personal Protection Outside the Home course, or another 4 hour course approved by the State Police. In addition, there is a live fire component that also must be passed. A person must fire at least 30 rounds with a 70% hit score of a B-21 silhouette or similar. Of these 30 rounds, the bill specifies 20 rounds at 7 yards and 10 rounds at 15 yards. The fees for training are allowed to be set by the instructor. Instructors can be anyone who is an NRA certified instructor, a retired law enforcement officer who has passed the qualifications to carry, an active or retired military member with a combat MOS, or a person certified by the Illinois Law Enforcement Training State Board.

Finally, and second only in importance to the bill mandating Shall-Issue carry permits, the bill contains a very strong state preemption clause. It prohibits any home rule unit from regulating the possession, carrying, or transportion of firearms. The only exception is that local governments can post buildings owned by them against carry. In addition, no home rule unit can regulate the number of handguns owned or require the registration possessed by a person under the act. Violation of Section 95 brings a $10,000 per day per individual affected punitive fine.

This is a very strong shall-issue law with reasonable costs and reasonable training requirements. The prohibited areas are similar to many other shall-issue states. The preemption clause is a critical component of this bill as it prevents the City of Chicago from setting their own draconian regulations. You can expect that Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the Chicago legislators under his sway will fight this part of the bill tooth and nail. In conclusion, I think Rep. Brandon Phelps – a Democrat, mind you – should be congratulated for drafting and introducing a good bill. For the sake of the people of the State of Illinois, I hope it passes.