A federal judge’s deadline fast approaches and few would be surprised to find Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn and the Illinois General Assembly standing with an empty holster June 9, the deadline for them to pass a concealed carry law.
It’s also not surprising that many Democrats, particularly those from powerful Cook County, are being forced to pass a law they have no interest in passing. But since they control both houses and the governor’s office, they’ll have to find a way.
Add a lack of concealed carry laws to the list of areas where Illinois comes in last place. We live in the only one of 50 states that does not have some law allowing people to carry concealed weapons, although states have a wide range of latitude on how they deal with concealed carry.
Some of the proposals being discussed carve out Chicago and Cook County from the rest of the state, arguing that Chicago has unique circumstances from the rest of the state. Chicago may be the state’s largest city, but its “urban issues” are hardly unique in Illinois. Rockford, Aurora, and Elgin are but a few larger cities that immediately come to mind with similar issues.
And thinking that Chicago is special when it comes to the Second Amendment is what led to the U.S. Supreme Court overturning Chicago’s ban on handguns. It was a Chicago resident who argued that he had the right to protect himself, who won his case before the Supreme Court.
Another issue is whether Illinois should be a “shall issue” or a “may issue” concealed carry state. In a “may issue” state, law enforcement would have the option of declining to issue a concealed carry permit to an individual even if the applicant met criteria set under the law.
New York, which has one of the more restrictive concealed carry laws, is a “shall issue” state and that policy was recently upheld by the courts.
There are 49 states that have figured this out. The Illinois General Assembly does not have to reinvent the wheel. They simply need to look at a state in the middle and adopt a reasonable law, one that requires training, outlines places where guns may not be carried, and treates all residents equitably.