My sincere apology to the retired teachers, I somehow missed an obligation with them. I hope they allow me to make it up. It’s always a concern when you live with a calendar, double booking, wrong date, it doesn’t matter, it simply shouldn’t happen. Enough said on the issue.
Yes, our two biggest concerns in these last two months of regular session are the budget and the pension reform. In fairness, my office receives more calls and emails for concealed carry. Where does it stand today? HB148, sponsored by my good friend Brandon Phelps (D-Norris City), is on third reading in the House and I predict that it will pass both chambers and be on its way to the Governor before the end of May and yes, I am a co-sponsor and I strongly endorse it.
Most of you are aware that Illinois is the only remaining state that does not have a concealed carry law. That alone should help move it to passage, but then again 49 other states don’t have a Cook County or a Chicago, certainly the sticking point in the passage.
In no way is the bill a partisan issue. Nearly all of us outside of Cook and the collar counties support its passage. I continue to marvel at the push back from one of the most violent cities in the nation and perhaps the world, where all the crazies are carrying guns. A city made up of so many wonderful law abiding citizens must yield to fear and intimidation of gang bangers.
And of course, there are those who will tell you that even the Chicago Police Department is opposed to honest citizens legally carrying concealed weapons. Those same folks fail to tell you that both the Chicago Police Lieutenants Association and the Chicago Police Sergeants Association are strong supporters of the bill as are the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police, the Illinois Sheriffs Association and the Police Benevolent and Protective Association. This is a bill whose time has come. In fairness, it is way overdue. This bill is well thought out and well crafted as we have learned from any mistakes made by the 49 other states.
HB148 has undergone many changes since it was voted on last year. The State Police will issue the permits. You will undergo instruction and training. Of course, you must be at least 21, possess no mental issues. There are other requirements including a $100.00 fee for five years, renewable at $50.00. The sheriff of a county may prevent an issuance of a license. There are of course places where a weapon may not be carried, one of which includes educational institutions.
Many are saying there are too many restrictions, perhaps, but this is Illinois and it is a tough bill to pass. Again I believe it will become law this year. Who knows maybe even the Cubs will win the World Series.