Federal lawmakers want Ill. to approve concealed carry

2011-08-08T18:00:00Z Federal lawmakers want Ill. to approve concealed carryBy Kurt Erickson Lee Springfield Bureau nwitimes.com
August 08, 2011 6:00 pm  • 

SPRINGFIELD | Republican members of Illinois congressional delegation -- and one Democrat -- are urging Gov. Pat Quinn and legislative leaders to allow Illinoisans to carry concealed weapons in public.

In a letter sent to top state officials last week, the 11-member group said Illinois should not be the lone state where it is illegal to carry firearms in public.

The one-page note was sent about two weeks after Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker put his signature on a law making his state the 49th to have a concealed weapons law.

"Exceptionalism can often be a positive thing, but in this case it is a mark of shame," the letter states.

Among those signing the letter were Republican U.S. Reps. Bobby Schilling of Colona, Tim Johnson of Urbana, Adam Kinzinger of Manteno, Aaron Schock of Peoria and John Shimkus of Collinsville. U.S. Rep. Jerry Costello of Belleville was the only Democrat to sign the letter.

"It is time for the Illinois legislature to act and permit Illinoisans to join the rest of the nation in their ability to carry concealed weapons for self-defense," the letter states.

This spring, legislation legalizing concealed carry fell six votes short of the 71 needed for passage in the Illinois House.

The measure has not been tested in the Democrat-controlled Senate and, even if it were to win approval in the legislature, Quinn remains opposed to the idea.

"Public safety has been and continues to be one of Gov. Quinn's top priorities, which is why he is opposed to allowing people to carry loaded, concealed handguns in public places, such as college campuses, parks, malls and our city streets," the governor's office said in a prepared statement Friday.

There are two lawsuits pending in federal district court seeking to overturn Illinois' ban on carrying concealed weapons. U.S. District Judge Sue Myerscough said she could issue a preliminary ruling in one of the cases within the coming days.

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