By Benjamin Yount | Illinois Watchdog
SPRINGFIELD — Illinois Democrat Brandon Phelps wants anyone who wants to legally carry a gun in Illinois to undergo eight hours of training. The southern Illinois state Rep. spent that long defending his plan for concealed carry Tuesday night.
The Illinois House debated how the state will fulfill a federal court order that Illinois finally allow people in the state to legally carry a firearm. Illinois is the only state in the nation that bans everyone from carrying a gun.
The marathon debate outlined proposals from a number of Chicago Democrats that would keep guns out of, and away from, schools, churches, daycares, stadiums, government buildings and a handful of other places.
Concealed carry supporters, often downstate lawmakers, say they want to ban guns from guns, schools, churches, daycares, and the like as well, but they want to give people the right to carry a gun into one of those facility’s parking lots.
Phelps has tried for years to legalize concealed carry in Illinois and said Tuesday that the time has come.
“The (7th) Circuit Court of Appeals found our ban on carrying a gun for self-defense unconstitutional,” Phelps said. “If we let this go by, constitutional carry will kick in. And I say again none of you want that because there will not be any restrictions.”
The Illinois House approved a handful of amendments to an omnibus concealed carry proposal, but it is unclear when a final piece of legislation will surface or come up for a vote.
The debate, was highlighted at times by accusations of game-playing, analogies to castration, and questions about whether Illinois can draw an inclusive concealed carry law.
State Rep. Jim Sacia, R-Pecatonica, says Chicago is trying to “castrate” gun owners.
State Rep. Dennis Reboletti, R-Elmhust, says Democrats are trying to use concealed carry as a political wedge.
State Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie, D-Chicago, defends tougher restrictions on concealed carry that would keep guns out of public and government buildings.
State Rep. Frank Mautino, D-Spring Valley, says the proposals to get tough on concealed carry may end up with a law that basically stops anyone from legally carrying a gun in the state.
State Rep Brandon Phelps, D-Harrisburg, makes his case for his concealed carry legislation.
You can contact Benjamin Yount at Ben@IllinoisWatchdog.org