The Illinois Senate is proposing concealed carry changes for Cook County, which would add an additional layer of gun control scrutiny. The latest legislation strives to balance concealed carry permits while avoiding local laws that could prove confusing for many gun owners and law enforcement officers.
While Cook County includes the metropolis of Chicago, which has generated many attention-grabbing headlines for violent crimes in today’s news, the state faces a strict June 9, 2013, deadline. In April, the Illinois house defeated two proposed gun legislation bills, one supported by guns rights advocates and another by gun control supporters.
In an attempt to reach a common middle ground, legislators are striving to require concealed gun applicants note on their applications if they intend to concealed carry in Cook County or in Chicago. By simply checking these boxes, the government would be alerted to further review applicants, investigations that would be conducted by Illinois State Police, Cook law enforcement and the Chicago Police Department. If applicants do not intend to carry in Cook County, they would simply receive a gun permit that would be valid in the state of Illinois; however, it would not permissible in Cook County or the city of Chicago.
This proposition has raised many questions, including how people traveling through Cook County could legally transport a concealed weapon. Lawmakers say they are working on perfecting the bill, including exceptions that would allow travelers with final destinations to Indiana or Wisconsin to travel through Cook County, provided their gun is properly secured.
As lawmakers frantically scurry to add legislation to the books regarding concealed carry, the response has been solely in part to the federal appeals panel overruling Illinois’ ban on concealed carry in December 2012. Now, with a looming deadline, legislators are noting that Illinois is in fact, the only state in the U.S. that does not have a concealed weapons law.
Part of the gun controversy holdup is related to the legality involved in the wording, as gun rights advocates have clearly stated they want permits to be issued to applicants that meet the necessary criteria, while lawmakers want to include “may issue,” which would give authorities the right to determine who would or would not be issued permits, even if all applicable requirements are satisfactory met.
As Illinois continues their concealed carry battle, the next month will prove interesting in the history of Cook County politics.
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