Concealed Carry Debated in Illinois House Committee

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (IRN) — It’s all about guns in an Illinois House hearing room in Springfield Tuesday afternoon.

The House Judiciary Committee is hearing testimony from, and asking questions of, people on all sides of the gun-law issue. However, the people who want more guns and less regulation believe the decisions are already tilted in their favor, as a federal court has tossed out Illinois’ ban on “concealed carry.”

“It’s either a right, or it’s not,” says National Rifle Association lobbyist Todd Vandermyde. “The courts have clearly said it’s a right.”

One point of debate is how much latitude the state should give local law enforcers; that is, “may carry” versus “shall carry.”

“Many local law enforcers … know their citizens personally,” says Mary Kay Mace, adding those officers can easily differentiate who is a threat and who isn’t. Mace testified on behalf of the Illinois Council against Handgun Violence. Mace, who argued in favor of “may carry,” is the mother of one of the 2008 Northern Illinois University massacre victims.

The hearing is one of two scheduled for the committee this week; the second one is Friday in Chicago. While the attorney general’s office has not given up in its appeals, the federal ruling essentially orders the legislature to get something done this spring.

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