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home : news : local   May 29, 2016

12/12/2012 5:56:00 AM
Illinois Valley reaction: Concealed carry ban falls in court

By Tom Collins and Allison Ryan
NewsTribune Reporters and The Associated Press

Illinois’ concealed carry ban may be on the way out, but local residents who watch gun issues are wary of the state’s next steps.
In a big victory for gun rights advocates, a federal appeals court on Tuesday struck down a ban on carrying concealed weapons in Illinois — the only state where it had remained entirely illegal.
The 7th  U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said state lawmakers have 180 days to write a new law that legalizes concealed carry.
Gun rights advocates long have argued that the prohibition against concealed weapons violates the U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment and what they see as Americans’ right to carry guns for self-defense. The court majority on Monday agreed, reversing lower court rulings against a lawsuit that had challenged the state law.
If the state does move forward to craft legislation, residents of the 38th Senate district will have to find another way to make small talk with their state Sen. Sue Rezin (R-Morris).
“This is the No. 1 issue, other than the state budget, that people talk about in this district – other than the state budget: When are we going to pass conceal and carry for the state of Illinois?” she said.
Now that the clock is ticking, she looks forward to seeing legislation drafted by state Rep. Brandon Phelps (D-Harrisburg), who cheered the news.
“Christmas came early for law-abiding gun owners,” Phelps told The AP. His proposed legislation came within three votes of passing in 2011.
Pleased, but cautious
One local gun supporter said he was pleased with the ruling, but isn’t uncorking the champagne just yet.
Mark Woodshank, owner of Boomers and Blasters in Peru, praised the federal court’s ruling but also predicted that Chicago legislators and Gov. Pat Quinn, among others, would oppose concealed carry right to the end.
“They’re going to appeal it. They’re going to fight it. They’re going to put so many restrictions on it,” Woodshank said. “We have a long road to go before it would come to fruition.”
Kemp Smith, a firearms instructor in Spring Valley, also hailed the ruling but said he puts the odds that Springfield will produce a satisfactory concealed-carry law at “less than a 50-percent.”
“Chicago rules the state of Illinois so much that (the law) still will not be what advocates are looking for,” Smith said.
The key provision to watch, he said, is whether the Legislature makes the law “shall issue,” subject to a simple screening process, or “may issue,” in which the applicant needs to also demonstrate the need to carry a firearm.

Law enforcement: ‘There have to be some caveats’
Two law enforcement officers welcomed the ruling but also expressed hope that Springfield would adopt a permitting program to ensure that guns make their way into able hands.
“Certainly I believe that along with the right to concealed carry there should be proper training, permitting and liability insurance,” La Salle County sheriff Tom Templeton said. “There have to be some caveats besides saying, ‘OK, you can concealed-carry.’”
He said Springfield also should impose a state-issued card to help police quickly assess who should and shouldn’t be carrying a weapon.
La Salle County state’s attorney Brian Towne said he favors concealed-carry in principle but also opposes an unregulated state “where anybody would have carte blanche authority to stick a gun in their pocket.”
“People wouldn’t want to be in a gas station or grocery store, have something arise and then someone with no business having a gun pull one out,” he said. “That spells disaster to me.”
Mendota attorney David Kaleel, who owns 10 firearms and supports concealed-carry in principle, said he further worried about accidents. He’s studied how concealed-carry has played out in other states and observed that while crime typically decreases by 5 percent, firearm accidents happen on a daily basis.
He further noted that studies have shown people who carry guns to fend off muggers often find, when confrontations actually arise, that their guns are used against them.
“Even though you feel more protected, you might not be,” he said.
“There’s no way I’d be in favor of Chicago having a concealed carry law,” he added. “I’m sure they’ll elect out of it under home rule jurisdiction.”
Anthony Sciuto, Bureau County’s first assistant state’s attorney, expected any concealed carry legislation in Illinois would include regulations similar to those in other states.
“Citizens who apply for a concealed carry permit have to undergo background checks, and these are very thorough. These are national background checks,” Sciuto said. In addition to criminal checks, psychological exams also may be required, a move Sciuto said he would like to see.
Illinois may be able to include other qualifications, such as requiring residents to have a “reason” for requesting a permit.
“I don’t think that that’s going to happen. I think if you’re a person who is a law-abiding, tax-paying citizen… you would be able to apply for a permit,” he said.
But that doesn’t mean residents should think that their neighbors would always be carrying a hidden gun.
“(In other states) the majority of the citizenry is not carrying concealed,” Sciuto said. “There’s a lot of reasons for that… You can’t take it into a school, you can’t take it into a government building… A lot of people feel it’s just uncomfortable to have a gun on their person or in their purse, because they tend to be heavy and big and obtrusive.”
As other state enacted concealed carry laws, Sciuto noted, “There weren’t people who were issued these concealed carry permits who were out robbing banks and violating the law.”
“It’s the old saying that criminals will get guns no matter what. I think that’s very, very true. Most people want concealed carry law so they can protect themselves and their family, not so they can be policemen of the world,” Sciuto said.

Expected legislation
Both Rezin and state Rep. Frank Mautino (D-Spring Valley) expected the state could pass legislation in time to meet the court’s deadline.
“We’ve had a tremendous amount of discussion in the past,” Rezin said, and added, “Anything can pass within a day in the state of Illinois.”
A proponent of conceal and carry, she said Illinois’ law will likely be similar to those in effect in many other states that already have enacted such legislation.
Mautino also said he liked the bill proposed by Phelps, which includes requirements for testing, training and certification.
“It’s pretty much a model law that’s used in the other states. Most states have a pretty uniform on psychological, training and actually performance and use testing, prior to issuing any permits,” Mautino said.
Even legislators who oppose concealed carry now have an incentive to vote for the bill, he added. If the state does nothing, then the statue on unauthorized use of weapons would become void at the 180-day deadline. That would mean that residents could carry not only pistols, but also semi-automatics and long guns, Mautino said.
“(The court decision) puts the concealed carry debate front and center, and on its own merits, and now with the federal decision that’s before us, there has to be an action — or, if there is no action, then the statute basically dissolves,” Mautino said.
While he expected action could happen quickly, he did not anticipate a bill passing in lame duck session before new members of the General Assembly are sworn in this January.

Tom Collins can be reached at (815) 220-6930 or Allison Ryan can be reached at (815) 220-6931 or

Reader Comments

Posted: Sunday, December 16, 2012
Article comment by: ronwood61

We are now, again, debating the gun issue after several mass shootings & killings. This will be discussed over and over with the usual outcome – nothing. The politicians and opinionated talking heads in the media need to stop their useless exchanges over gun control which always go nowhere and take another route.
Every society has a percentage of its’ people with mental problems and some of them are psychopaths. There is not much we can do other than try to find ways to treat and reduce this number. Not all are prone to violence and it is very difficult to predetermine who the psychotic ones are. Perhaps our Politicians, in their infinite wisdom, can pass laws making it a crime with severe punishments for any media outlet (TV, newspapers, radio, magazines, etc) to mention the name(s) or show pictures of any mass murderer. How many of these demented people do their deeds because they wish to become famous with their names and faces going into “history” as so many have before them. If nobody ever knew the name(s) or face(s) of these offenders, how many would still do it?

Posted: Saturday, December 15, 2012
Article comment by: METALWORKER

You may very well have something there.
Although, I must say that by going to see the cubs I did get to see quite a few Card's games and a host of really good players.
Saw as many, maybe more games on the South side and saw players in action that kids today talk about and dream of playing like they did.
Baseball is a good game but not the same.
In the most of what we have is our memories and I like most have a tendency to emblemish them.
I read a face book post today that said something like someone asking God where He was during this shooting. His reply, I wasn't let in.
I, personly never believed that God was in a picture, statue or something like that.
I prefer to believe that He is in every heart that believe in Him and so He was broth in by every child that entered that school and every school that day.
I just came from church and thought about that post as I looked at the few believers who were in church.
Yhe folks who claim to be Christians just refuse to live and act like Christians so I believe that if I believe than He is with me always.
As for mental tests. sure I probobly need them more then most, although a lot of thoses comeing home now are cattching up to me.
God help them all. They are not comeing home to the same country they left.

Posted: Saturday, December 15, 2012
Article comment by: CRobinson

MW, since you asked, I have no reason to decline a mental test and would take one if necessary. I, too, was in the army and qualified with the M-1 and a 45 calibre and never had to take a mental test. I could have made the Post rifle team but, at the time, they needed good shooters for Korea.
Now for a little humor: maybe you had to take mental tests because you went to Cubs games.

Posted: Saturday, December 15, 2012
Article comment by: METALWORKER

Yes Mr. Robinson, we did. I remember, in the 40's, walking from north La Salle to the dumps south of La Salle with a side arm, S&W .22 cal. revolver strapped to my waist going to shoot rats.
Some times going or from, I would stop at the police station and pass the time of gay with the patrolmen on duty.
I remember buying my first shoot gun, a $10.00 double barrel, 16 gauge I got for selling my bike. We hunted squirrels, rabbits, quail and pheasants. We had good times.
I joined the military and found that my having fired many weapons stood me in good steed. I also found that I had to pass a mental test at least every two years and had to qualify on the firing range every year on all weapons I used.

Police persons qualify on a regular basis and take stress tests when needed.
I remember very well in the late 60's going on a bus trip with my daughter to see the Cubs with the girl scouts. A lot of sitting so when we were dropped off of the bus across from McDonalds, instead of calling for a ride I said we would walk home to the East end of La Salle.
My daughter looked at me and remarked that it must have been great to have grown up at a time when it was safe for anyone to walk where ever they wanted to go. Yes it sure was.
As a teenager I regularly walked, from the West clocks bowling alley to St Mary's hospt. after work at around 12 to 1 in the morning.
Yes sir I am old enough to remember those things and the good thing is I do.
I also remember that all professionals are, if they use weapons, are tested regularly.
So I ask they have to then why not you and I. I am not afraid to be tested, are you? I am not afraid to be tested to drive by auto so why not to use a gun? I will take that test will you?
I did not have to take one when I applied for a fire arm owners licenses, I just applied, paid my fee and a sent a picture and walla, three weeks later, there it was.
I never had a problem getting a weapon. One can go to any of a host of gun shows in the area with a pocket full of green backs and go home with an arsenal with out a background check.
Now This lady in Conn. sure was not what I would call a respon. gun owner. As a mom, she must have known that she had a troubled person in the home and yet she allowed him access to those four weapons..
If, she allowed an unlicensed person to drive her auto and he hit and killed one of your family members, would you ask for stiffer driving regs.
I am not asking for the repeal of the second amendment just for some sensible regulations.
We can have both, we once did. Back when, my firearms were registered with the city of La Salle, and guess what, No one came to pick them up.

Posted: Saturday, December 15, 2012
Article comment by: Anonymous20977

To let guns be sold with no regs. and protect ourselves with locks and fences and armed guards and bigger guns, is to give up everyone's freedoms just to let a few dictate what those freedoms will be.

Sorry guy, but we HAVE regs on guns. We HAVE laws and rules. Yet there will ALWAYS be people who don't obey them. You served to protect and defend our rights and freedoms but now you want to take them away from us? Go ahead and demand that we give up our guns. I'll be the one keeping mine and if I ever need to use one to protect me and mine, well, at least I'll be ABLE to! We don't need new laws, we need ENFORCEMENT of the ones we have. I also agree with CR. Too many things promoting the "glory" of violence. Plus, today's kids are learning that parents can't discipline them without fear of being charged with child abuse. In my day if you did something bad you got a good spanking. It taught you right from wrong, and put a fear of punishment into you for any future acts. We don't have that now, and the kids know it. Maybe instead of running and hiding from things we don't like it's time to get out and start fighting back. We the people have nobody looking out for us but us ourselves. Perhaps once the "bad guys" got the message that their victim just might be carrying a weapon they would think about self-preservation and move on. Not thinking about going back to the wild west days, but an unarmed person is now defined as a victim. I don't want to be one.

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