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House Committee Approves Concealed Carry Bill
On Friday, we could have our first real movement on a concealed carry bill. Today, a House committee advanced the bill, which has been hailed by its supporters as a true compromise. But many gun groups and police agencies are remaining neutral on the legislation.
The bill's chief sponsor, Democratic Rep. Brandon Phelps, has typically been viewed as a champion of gun rights. The bill is viewed as a compromise because it doesn't have any exemptions for the city of Chicago, and excludes public transportation as an area where permit holders can carry.
The NRA and ISRA remain neutral on the plan, because of the cost of the permits ($150) and the amount of training required (16 hours).
We asked Phelps if their neutral position might actually help the bill get more votes from lawmakers who are typically more supportive of gun restrictions.
"I don't know," he said. "I don't know, because this happened so quick yesterday. But I would think it would. I would think it would. Some of the legislators that voted for this in committee, they were always anti-the NRA bill that we had in the past."
Phelps said he believes this bill has the strongest mental health requirements of any concealed carry bill in the country. The legislation also designates cars as safe harbors where guns can be stored, unloaded, and locked up when parked, regardless of the policy of the property owner, so owners would have a place to store the guns if visiting a no-carry zone.
A spokesperson for Gov. Pat Quinn told us he is opposed to the bill. Because it overrides home rule, passing it means it needs the same number of votes as it would to override a veto.
According to House Speaker Michael Madigan, the bill contains every single off-limits area the city of Chicago asked for. Madigan plans for the bill to be voted on and passed in the House.
Click here for a fact sheet on the new legislation, prepared by Madigan's office.