A controversial concealed carry bill moves to the Illinois Senate floor Friday. Senate Bill 183 lays out who could carry guns and where they would be permitted specifically in cities with more than 25,000 people.
The stipulation, known as the home rule, is the main reason most downstate senators said they would not vote for the bill.
“I don’t view that as a good connection to give municipal governments additional authority beyond the state law," said Sen. Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill).
“All that I think leaves an awful lot of opportunity for someone to be a felon by just simply walking into a town or a location.” said Sen. Dave Luechtefeld (R-Okawville). “That has a situation where guns are not permitted.”
The Democrat from Bunker Hill agreed with his Republican counterpart.
“All that, I think, leaves an awful lot of opportunity for someone to be a felon by simply walking into a town or a location that has a situation where guns are not permitted,” Sen. Dave Luechtefeld (D-Bunker Hill) said in a phone interview.
Both senators said what makes this particular debate interesting is that it is not a fight between Democrats and Republicans. Instead, it is geography based.
In essence, they believe whatever eventually becomes a final bill on concealed carry will pit Chicago legislators against the rest of the state.
While Manar and Luechtefeld are confident it will not get off the Senate floor Friday, they both said they feel something will be decided before the legislative session ends in Springfield on May 31. That’s just a week and a half before the June 9 deadline federal judges set for Illinois lawmakers to figure out some type of concealed carry ruling.
Illinois is the last state in the country to have a concealed carry law.