SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (IRN) – The Illinois House is expected to vote on a controversial concealed carry bill next week, and opponents of the legislation are pointing to gaps in the gun permit system as a reason to vote no.
State Police aren’t getting sufficient data on the number of mentally ill people in Illinois, according to a State Police report on firearms violence. State Police use that information to determine whether someone can get a Firearm Owner’s Identification card, or FOID card.
“The Illinois State Police and the Department of Human Services admitted that despite their efforts to come into compliance, the lack of mental health records in the FOID background database system presented serious public safety concerns,” said Colleen Daley, executive director of the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence.
One hundred eighty-three of the 180,000 licensed clinicians in the state have registered with the Department of Human Services to help with the data collection. That’s from a 2009 report by Illinois State Police that also shows too few county courts in Illinois are providing data on the mentally ill.
Some lawmakers are using these facts to express their opposition to H.B. 148, the concealed carry bill.
“The last thing we want to see happen is for someone with a mental health history to gain access, lawful access to a loaded, concealed gun,” said State Sen. Dan Kotowski (D-Park Ridge).
State Rep. Brandon Phelps (D-Harrisburg) said earlier this month that the concealed carry bill was “three to four votes short.” The Illinois Chiefs of Police are backing the bill, with most of the opposition coming from Chicago and the suburbs.