Illinois remains the only state in the union without a concealed carry law on the books -- and despite repeated failures, gun rights advocates are not giving up.
On Wednesday, the House Agriculture & Conservation Committee approved House Bill 5745, which would allow residents to carry concealed weapons. Once again, downstate Democrat Brandon Phelps sponsored the measure.
“We’re the only state (that bans concealed carry). If it was so bad, why isn’t there any other states trying to repeal this? It works,” Phelps told the State Journal-Register, claiming crime has gone down in places that allow residents to carry concealed weapons.
Phelps said he was optimistic about the bill's passage this time around -- but his hopes have been up in the past.
Last year, another bill sponsored by Phelps on the matter failed by only six votes after months of heated debate in Springfield. Once again, the issue pitted downstate lawmakers against those from the Chicago area.
As the Capitol Fax Blog reported Wednesday, downstate Democrats released a scathing statement about Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel's statewide gun registry and ammunition tax plans, saying they would "kill these bills."
“I can’t believe these Chicago politicians think we’re just going to roll over and let them push their ridiculous laws on Southern Illinois,” Phelps said in a statement. “It’s time for them to face the facts and realize that guns don’t kill people. People kill people, and criminals are not the ones who are going to register their weapons. Only law-abiding citizens like the people in Southern Illinois will end up paying these Chicago gun taxes.”
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Bottom of FormJim West, a former Department of Corrections officer who now teaches pistol classes for the National Rifle