By Sara Aherns, Women’s Outdoor News
Illinois politicians reluctantly drafted and passed concealed carry bill HB-183that is now awaiting Governor Pat Quinn’s approval. As another tactic to stall the implementation of concealed carry in Illinois, Attorney General Lisa Madigan requested and received a 30-day extension. She argued that the additional 30 days would give Governor Quinn adequate time to fulfill his state constitutional responsibilities. But the drafter of the law, Senator Gary Forby, advised that Governor Quinn was “playing games.” Senator Forby also advised that even if Quinn vetoed the bill, he has the 3/5s votes needed to override him. Another extension will not be granted, so Governor Quinn has until July 9, 2013, to respond.
The bill’s oppressive restrictions
In reviewing the concealed carry law, there are some obvious flaws; it’s also clear that the legislatures wrote the bill under duress. Their reluctance to allow law-abiding citizens in Illinois to carry concealed is at best reckless. Reviewing the bill, I found myself frustrated about all the prohibitions. Perhaps the politicians should have listed the places and conditions that Illinois residents are permitted to carry instead of where they are forbidden, since that list would be far shorter.
Illinois’ misguided concealed carry law prohibits carrying a firearm in the following areas:
- School and university properties — both public and private
- Court houses
- Gaming facilities
- Stadiums, arenas and sporting events
- Amusement parks
- Museums and zoos
- Local government buildings:
- Correctional facilities
- Hospitals, mental health facilities and nursing homes – both public and private
- Public transportation
- Any establishment that serves alcohol and makes more than half of its revenue from the consumption of alcohol
- Any public gathering or special event that requires a government permit
- Any building where a special event liquor license has been issued (only during the event hours)
- Public playgrounds and parks, athletic areas or facilities under the control of a municipality or park district – an exception was made for bike paths that are only partially in such a location
- Property controlled by Cook County Forest Preserve
- Any area forbidden by private property owners
Many of these aforementioned locales are precisely where protection is necessary. So, where can Illinois citizens carry concealed? It seems to me that it’s limited to a public way (street,) private property (with permission,) in a car, when “passing through” a prohibited location or in parking lots. That’s about it. And anyone who intentionally or unintentionally violates this law may be subject to criminal prosecution.
This bill may cause more harm than good
State Representative and Police Officer John Cabello raised one valid issue: the potential danger posed by citizens having to remove, unload and case their firearms publicly in order to abide by this law. He recognizes that negligent discharges happen. This isn’t the only danger. The act of removing a firearm in public in order to store it in a case or car may cause some citizens to be targeted by criminals. Burglaries to motor vehicles, strong-arm robberies (no weapon) and armed robberies are crimes that plague Illinois. This law will require those who exercise their right to potentially expose (the opposite of conceal) their weapon to others. Even if criminals were unaware of a gun’s existence, upon stealing or burglarizing a vehicle, they’d discover it.
I foresee this requirement resulting in one of three scenarios:
- A widespread increase of stolen firearms and crime in general
- Conviction of law abiding citizens who, under certain circumstances, may feel forced to violate the law
- Be so burdensome that citizens don’t bother carrying at all
In short, the politician’s irrational fears regarding the arming of law-abiding citizens will probably result in arming more criminals. I find this ironic since storeowners in Illinois are allowed to have firearms. I have firsthand knowledge of the benefits of this exclusion. From my experience, I believe that a properly crafted concealed carry law would deter crime.
Illinois Residents Deserve Better The State of Illinois is financially destitute, with dwindling economic prospects. These issues have an impact on the crime rate and have forced reductions in police staffing. When government can no longer provide the level of protection dictated by the crime rate, it must allow citizens to protect themselves. This bill clearly communicates that Illinois politicians do not care about their constituent’s safety.
Thanks for nothing!
Sara Aherns is sponsored by Armed In Stilettos and writes for Women’s Outdoor News. Sara is a police sergeant assigned to patrol for the Rockford (IL) Police Department. Recently, she appeared on Top Shot Season 3.