Concealed Carry bill heads to the Governor's desk

By WEEK Reporter

May 31, 2013 Updated May 31, 2013 at 7:07 PM CDT

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. -- In line to meet a federal mandate, a concealed carry bill is on its way to the Governor's desk.

The bill, which grants a concealed carry license to qualified applicants but does not repeal local public safety ordinances including Chicago's assault weapons ban, passed the Illinois Senate Friday afternoon by a 45-12 vote.

To qualify, an applicant must:

• Have a valid Firearm Owners Identification card
• Be at least 21 years old
• Complete the required 16 hours of firearms training
• Not have any convictions for violent misdemeanors in the past five years
• Not have two or more DUI convictions in the past five years

Also required with the application is a fingerprint and background check conducted by the state police, who must approve or deny the application within 90 days. The cost of a concealed-carry license is $150, and the licenses are valid for five years.

While HB 183 gives a person the right to carry a concealed handgun, there are restrictions as to where a gun may be carried. These include:

• Schools
• Preschools and day-care centers
• Playgrounds
• Parks (except bike paths or trails)
• Cook County Forest Preserve
• Colleges and universities
• Government buildings
• Correctional facilities
• Medical facilities
• Public transportation
• Public gatherings (although a licensee may pass through to reach their home, workplace or vehicle)
• Bars, casinos and race tracks
• Libraries, museums, zoos and amusement parks
• Stadiums
• Special events where alcohol is served
• Places prohibited by federal law

In addition, any private property owner may restrict carrying concealed weapons on his or her property but must post a sign saying so. Homeowners are not required to post such signage, however. Carrying a firearm while under the influence of alcohol also is prohibited.

"This bill is not perfect, but it is a huge step forward to achieving the right-to-carry for Illinoisans," State Senator Darin LaHood said. "As a former state and federal prosecutor, I believe passage of this legislation will help reduce crime rates in Illinois, as we have seen in other states.”

Governor Pat Quinn says he will review the bill right away.