Springfield, Ill (IRN)- A measure that would allow Illinois residents to carry concealed firearms in public places has passed a house committee – but it still has a long road ahead before it becomes law.
The House Agriculture committee passed House Bill 148 by a convincing 12-2 vote. Lawmakers heard testimony for nearly 90 minutes from people on both sides of the issue.
Samantha Fields, who’s the assistant to Chicago Mayor Richard Daley, says a recent Supreme Court ruling outlawed Chicago’s outright handgun ban… but that doesn’t mean the city can’t regulate gun ownership at all. Otis McDonald who was at the center of a Supreme Court case last year challenging Chicago’s outright handgun ban testified in support of the measure to allow citizens to conceal and carry. He says his southwest side neighborhood is a “war zone,” and he should be allowed to protect himself.
“The second amendment only protects a right to possess a firearm in the home for self-defense,” says Fields, noting Chicago residents can own a firearm inside their homes. “A wide variety of gun laws are constitutionally permissible.”
A number of proponents also spoke in favor of the measure, including Fulton County Sheriff Jeff Standard. He says his county covers a lot of square miles, and he only has three deputies on staff at any given time.
“Typically a 20 to 30 minute response time is not unheard of in an emergency situation to get across my county,” says Standard.
The measure, dubbed the Family and Personal Protection Act, would require permit holders be 21 years old or older, have extensive practice and training before they acquire the permit, which must be issued by a local sheriff’s office.
The bill must now come before the full house for debate. If it passes, it must still go through the Senate and be signed into law by the governor.