As the only state in the union not to allow concealed carry, Illinois politicians may find themselves in a difficult position as the Federal government considers a bill that would allow concealed carry permit holders to carry handguns across state lines.
A floor vote is expected on the National Right to Carry Reciprocity Act, a bill introduced by Florida Republican Cliff Stearns and North Carolina Democrat Heath Shuler.
The legislation would allow those with permits to carry a concealed handgun in any state where concealed carry is not restricted. Forty nine states currently allow some form of concealed carry, but the training and requirements for obtaining a permit vary.
The bill is poised to pass the Republican-controlled House: It has more than 245 co-sponsors, and it survived the markup process intact, despite numerous attempts by Democrats to amend it.
UPDATE: An attempt by U.S. Rep. Timothy V. Johnson and other Illinois Congressmen to guarantee Illinois citizens their constitutional right to carry concealed weapons was turned back by the House Rules Committee Monday night.
Rep. Johnson had offered to amend the National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act of 2011 to extend to Illinois citizens the fundamental right to carry a concealed weapon under proper permitting limitations.
The amendment would have superseded the Illinois Legislature’s refusal to allow this right, which is enjoyed by citizens in all other states of the union.
“The reciprocity bill has been introduced as an attempt, rightfully, to level the playing field in the execution of, and in the protection of, a citizen’s constitutional right to bear arms.
“The bill as introduced, however, did not address Illinois’ refusal to allow citizens this basic right. As most are aware, Illinois is the only state in the nation that does not allow conceal-carry.
“I believe, as do many of my colleagues, that the right to bear arms is a right afforded all U.S. citizens in the U.S. Constitution. It is not a right that stops at a state line. It is not a right Illinois citizens should be asked to surrender.The Illinois legislature is under the grip of Chicago politicians. Their failure to grant to Illinois gun owners the same rights as the citizens of the other states necessitates that Congress exercise its powers under the 2nd and 14th amendment to allow Illinois citizens to safely carry firearms.”
Cosponsors of the amendment include Illinois Congressmen Bobby Schilling, Aaron Schock, Randy Hultgren and Adam Kinzinger.
As introduced, the National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act of 2011, or H.R. 822, would allow any person with a legally recognized carrying permit of another state to be recognized in other states that also have permitting laws. Under Rep. Johnson’s amendment, Illinois and D.C. residents would have been able to obtain a permit in another state, in accordance with that state’s background checks and safety training requirements, and to maintain that permit in Illinois or D.C.
Rep. Johnson said he would continue to look for opportunities in the future to address the conceal-carry issue in Illinois.