The Illinois State Legislature on May 31 grudgingly acknowledged that the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights is, indeed, the law of the land, even in the Prairie State, by agreeing to “allow” residents to carry concealed firearms — the last state in the nation to do so.

Actually, state legislators had little choice. In December, a federal appeals court ruled Illinois’ long-standing ban on concealed carry was unconstitutional and gave the state until June 9 to draft regulations.

The compromise bill, approved the last day of the legislative session, is headed to Gov. Pat Quinn. It passed in the Senate in a 45-12-1 vote and was adopted in the House in an 89-28 tally, securing “veto-proof” majorities. The bill required a three-fifths vote in both chambers, the higher bar needed to negate cities’ home-rule powers.

The new law creates a $150 concealed weapons permit valid for five years that would be issued by the Illinois State Police to applicants 21 and older. Law enforcement could object to an applicant receiving a permit. Those denied could appeal to a seven-person board designed to have members with credentials such as former judge or FBI agent.

Applicants must complete 16 hours of training before getting a concealed weapons permit. There are provisions designed to prevent people with mental health problems from getting guns.

The proposed bill would ban guns from many places, including Chicago bus lines and stations, casinos, stadiums, schools, bars, parks and festivals.

The Second Amendment Foundation (SAF), which filed the lawsuit — Moore v. Madigan — that eventually forced Illinois to recognize the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights, praised the proposed law as “a good step” toward bringing the Prairie State in line with the rest of the nation.

“It is a shame that this had to go right down to the wire,” SAF Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb said, “but the important thing is that Illinois citizens will now have a law that makes it possible for them to exercise their right to bear arms outside the home for personal protection. This is why we went to court in the first place; to secure for Illinois residents the same rights enjoyed by citizens in the other 49 states.”

For more, go to:
Illinois passes bill to allow concealed firearms; last U.S. state to have such a ban
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