Thursday, May 23, 2013

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.
CCW BILL ALERT - SB 2193 - VIABLE PROPOSAL ON THE TABLE 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 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.


  1. pass this thing immediately, get the ball rolling, and go from there. I spent 20 years in Illinois and finally escaped to Kentucky. Two years ago I would have bet the farm that Illinois would never see shall issue. pass it and get to work making it better once the sky doesn't come falling down. I'll gladly pay the fees and get the two days worth of training if it means I can visit my family without having to pull over at the border and lock things up. Don't let perfect be the enemy of good and get this thing signed into law!!

    1. I have read the bill and if it is enforced the way it is written,(more likely to happen downstate than near Chicago), you would be able to have the firearm on or near you in your vehicle in Illinois as long as you stayed in your vehicle even without the Illinois carry permit. When exiting the vehicle onto public property the firearm would need to be unloaded prior to exiting with it. It could be locked in the vehicle or you could place it in and retrieve it from the trunk. You would only need the permit to carry loaded in non-prohibited public areas.

  2. Don't pass this bill. It's the compromise that gets gun control's foot in the door. People think that the litigation against the high fees and prohibitive places is a slam dunk to be overturned. It's not. But what it does do is establish that such measures can be placed on a inalienable right...thus not making it inalienable.

    Stop this regurgitated compromise bill and dig in in order to get it right the first time. And if it can't be done then let Constitutional Carry reign. The pro gunners are, FINALLY, in the drivers seat on this, they gave fair and tame bills for shall issue and were rejected. Now the gun controllers want "compromise". I say they can suck on their compromise. Push for the bill we want and if not, then Constitutional Carry.

    Compromise is what got us gun control in the first place. You can't keep compromising on what is right and expect to keep your rights.

  3. This is why we have such a tough time getting carry in IL. Half of our opponents are on our side.

    We've had a pro-gun majority in IL for years. What we've lacked is the required super-majority to override home-rule, as you accurately detail in the blog posting.

    After this bill, that is a non-issue and our majority can actually pass corrective measures to this law.

    As evidenced in this comment stream, people don't get that. Some of my fellow activists have called me a collaborator for supporting this bill and compared us to the Vichy.

    It is laughingly fallacious that this opens the door to gun control. Defies logic and history. The door has always been open for gun control. They've only ever needed a simple majority and we've managed to fend off all their proposals. Now the shoe is on the other foot and our simple majority will control.

    Some people think we are Arizona, apparently. We are a solid blue state. Gun control failed in IL in the wake of Sandy Hook and we are rolling back mag limits and AWBs as well. Think about that for a second.

    1. I can not support this bill as it is too restrictive. Constitutional carry would be better. Having said that I do not oppose it either but remain neutral on this issue. That is because you are right. If those who defeated the may pass bill and almost passed the better bill would stick to that we should not have to compromise. But Madigan stated that he was not going to allow for no bill to pass and that it was either this or he would ram through a worse bill. Typical Chicago crooked politics but he would have found a way to do it. I watched it pass the house this afternoon.

    2. We aren't getting Constitutional Carry if this bill fails to pass.

      We'll be getting UNREGULATED carry, which means you may get hooked up for an ordinance violation... go to jail, strip search, FOID suspended, and so on and so forth - to say nothing of legal expenses defending against what may or may not be a now-unconstitutional local ordinance.

      Does that sound like Constitutional Carry, Mr. Anonymous?

      I don't think so.

  4. Not an IL resident, nor do intend to spend ANY time there I can avoid, so my opinion matters for nothing, but. . .

    Ending Home Rule (i.e., "Chicago Veto") is the big victory in this bill. As other have said, once state pre-emption is in place, REAL pro-rights bills can get passed. Until then, Chicago will still be driving the bus.

  5. People are forgetting the history of shall-issue in this country and it's happened in the lifetime of most of us.

    Alaska, my state, had no carry up until '93. We got a shall-issue bill in '94 with a $125 fee, photos, fingerprints, 12 hours of training -8 hours class time NRA Personal Protection plus state laws, 4 range-, qualification shoot with action type and max caliber you wanted to carry, no restaurant carry, signage had force of law, and some others. As anyone around back then can tell you, that was about standard for shall-issue bills back then as the wave of CCW Florida kicked off was new for a lot of states.

    The key was the preemption from the get go. In the matter of a few years signage went away, and the action/caliber restriction, we got restaurant carry, the fee went down, and finally in '04 we had Con Carry with permits simply for reciprocity. 10 years total from nothing to one of the best in the nation.

    This is the reality. Not getting everything you want in one swoop is -not- a loss, particularly since June would -not- have brought "Con Carry" but rather, due to no preemption, a patchwork of county by county by town by town restrictions pushing the limits of Madigan and requiring zip code by zip code court battles to fix.