A Democratic lawmaker seeks to expand Illinois’ concealed carry law.
Illinois’ concealed carry law passed in July 2013, but Smithton Democrat state Rep. Jerry Costello is hopeful his House Bill 6047 will increase the number of areas where concealed weapons are allowed, including on public transportation systems.
The state's largest public transportation system is not in favor of concealed carry expansion.
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Steve Mayberry, spokesman for the Chicago Transit Authority, says allowing concealed weapons on mass transit would create a security risk to more than 1.6 million riders who rely on CTA daily and, over time, would increase costs for security and insurance.
“Allowing people to carry concealed weapons on our buses and trains will bring an increase in significant safety risk to both customers and employees,” Mayberry said. “It could also lead to increased insurance rates and higher security costs, which will undermine the safe and affordable service we provide to the Chicago area.”
Brian Kossof, president of Concealed Carry of Illinois, says allowing concealed weapons on public transportation increases public safety and shouldn’t have been excluded from the original law.
“I think it’s long overdue,” Kossof said. “They should have included public transportation from the very beginning, but they outlawed it from the beginning. It's one of the most dangerous places somebody can put themselves in.”
In a statement, Costello said he doesn’t believe gun owners’ “Second Amendment rights should be infringed upon simply because they take a train or bus rather than driving their own vehicle.”
If HB 6047 passes, Costello will work with the Illinois Department of Transportation, mass transit authorities and other transit agencies to ensure that safety concerns are addressed, he said.