Southern Illinois rep files concealed carry bill

2013-01-30T11:15:00Z 2013-01-30T21:53:05Z Southern Illinois rep files concealed carry billD.W. Norris The Southern nwitimes.com
January 30, 2013 11:15 am  • 

HARRISBURG | A Southern Illinois lawmaker on Tuesday filed a bill to legalize concealed carry in the state.

The Family and Personal Protection Act sponsored by state Rep. Brandon Phelps, D-Harrisburg, would allow licensed residents to carry, with certain restrictions, loaded or unloaded handguns on their person or in vehicles. Five-year licenses would cost $25 and would be issued by Illinois State Police.

Phelps unsuccessfully pushed for concealed carry in recent years, but a federal appeals court ruling in 2012 struck down as unconstitutional the state’s ban on personal carry handguns. Attorney General Lisa Madigan has asked for a re-hearing on that ruling.

“Since taking office, I have constantly stood up for Illinois citizens’ right to bear arms and this year will be no different,” Phelps said in a statement. “Currently, Illinois is the only state that does not have any form of concealed carry permits.

“With this added pressure from December’s federal appellate court’s ruling, I think we are the closest we have ever been, and I remain focused on ending the practice of punishing law-abiding citizens by denying them their right to concealed carry.”

Colleen Daley, executive director of the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence, said her organization wants to ensure any concealed-carry bill includes “reasonable restrictions,” including better mental health information sharing with the federal government and mandatory background checks for any firearms sales.

“Because of the court’s ruling we are also looking at putting together the most comprehensive and common-sense concealed-carry proposal in the country,” Daley said.

Phelps’ bill would require applicants to be at least 21 years old and have a FOID card and proof of National Rifle Association or equivalent firearms training. They must also pass a criminal background check and have no documented history of mental illness or alcohol abuse.

There are several restrictions on where license-holders may carry guns without written permission, among them schools, libraries, taverns, amusement parks, airports, government buildings or anyplace currently prohibited by federal law.

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