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Concealed Carry Dies in Committee; Gun Control Measures Advance

By Kevin Robinson in News on Mar 12, 2009 2:20PM

Photo by ten-nine
Just hours before gun-rights advocates marched to the state capitol, a proposal to permit concealed weapons in the state died in committee. Senate Bill 1976, which would have allowed Illinois county sheriffs to issue concealed carry permits to gun owners who passed background checks and training classes, failed to clear the Senate Public Health Committee. A similar bill is still making its way through the house, although it's unlikely to become law this year.

While bus loads of downstaters rallied for the concealed carry law, legislators were busy passing more stringent regulations on gun ownership. The House Executive Committee approved legislation banning assault weapons and restricting gun purchases to one a month on Wednesday. National Rifle Association lobbyist Todd Vandermyde told the Tribune that "we're not just going to lay down and take this stuff. Illinois is bigger than Chicago," referring to opposition from Chicago-area officials. Both Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart and State's Attorney Anita Alvarez oppose easing access to firearms. "Bar fights will turn into murders," Alvarez told the Tribune.

Nevertheless, gun advocates are hoping that, while they don't have a concealed carry law this year, they can build a movement to push for less restrictive gun control in the near future. And citizens have taken notice, as well. Fearing more restrictive gun laws, higher taxes and possibly even increased economic insecurity, gun sales have increased since November, according to Newtown, CT.-based National Shooting Sports Foundation. "That's a national trend," the owner of Midwest Guns in Lyons told Medill, who asked that his name not be used. "Mostly people want something for personal protection, a handgun or shotgun, something they can keep in the house."