As it does every year, a concealed carry bill surfaced in a state House committee and passed – but its future is, again, uncertain. State Rep. Brandon Phelps (D-Harrisburg) is again leading the charge as he has for years. His measure would allow Illinois residents with the proper training and permits to carry a concealed firearm.
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The arguments are the same – proponents say guns are needed for protection, opponents say more guns equal more violence. Phelps responded to that by saying… look around. “We’re the only state,” he says. “If it was so bad why are there no other states trying to repeal this? It works. Crime has gone down everywhere this has gone into effect. So why are we the only ones?”
A point of contention this year is whether colleges and universities can ban them on campus. “The presidents of the colleges have said they don’t want any form of concealed carry on their campuses. So that’s fine, but if they disarm that person that has a permit, and something happens like at Northern Illinois with the shooting, then they’re going to get the liability,” he says.
Phelps says the measure that easily passed out of the Agriculture and Conservation committee is not the final version, and he’ll try to find common ground with the universities. The bill would preempt local ordinances in home-rule communities such as Chicago, which means it needs 71 votes to pass. Last year’s bill got 65, and Phelps is confident he has picked up a few more since last year.