Republican Illinois congressmen are trying to give their constituents rights they say the state legislature won’t. Several congressmen are leading an effort to enact national concealed carry legislation, which would allow out-of-state residents to carry concealed weapons in Illinois, and Illinois residents to use permits they’ve obtained in other states.
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Colleen Daley, executive director of the Illinois Council against Handgun Violence, says such a measure would strip Illinois of its right to protect its citizens. “You’ve got states like Arizona and Florida where you essentially mail in an application for a concealed carry permit,” she says. “You want people like that coming into our state, with no laws to protect them?”
The National Rifle Association disagrees with the council and supports the measure. It says the constitutional right to keep and bear arms does not end at state lines, and the so-called “doom and gloom” predictions from anti-gun groups haven’t panned out. “We’ve heard this same howling hysterics from the gun ban groups 20 years ago when the right to carry movement started gaining momentum,” says Andrew Arulanandam, NRA spokesman. “They predicted gun fights at the OK Corral at high noon, and none of those predictions have come to pass.”
The measure, H.R. 3543, is similar to another measure, H.R. 822, that passed the House but hasn’t been heard in the Senate. The difference here, say supporters, is Illinois residents would be allowed to carry a concealed weapon in their home state.