WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Lawmakers to Consider Concealed Weapons Bill

Springfield, IL – Illinois House lawmakers will get a chance to debate concealed carry legislation, which is one of the top items on the gun lobby's agenda.

A House committee this week approved the plan, which would allow gun owners to carry their weapons in public.

The divisive issue is often described as "rural downstate" versus "urban Chicago." But Otis McDonald bucks that stereotype.

The nearly 80-year old man was at the center of a US Supreme Court case that struck down Chicago's handgun ban last year. After the ruling, the city responded by putting in place strict ordinances regulating handguns.

Guns are allowed in the home, but McDonald said that's not enough.

"I know that where I live, it's like a war zone," McDonald said. "The safety of me and my family does not depend on just whether I have a weapon in my house. It also depends on whether I have something to defend myself in the streets."

McDonald said the gang violence in his south side neighborhood runs rampant.

But opponents of concealed carry say it won't stop gun violence and add that violence will only escalate if more people are armed.

This is not the first time such a measure has advanced this far in the legislature, and the other attempts came up short.

A lobbyist with the NRA says he's currently locking in key votes to win approval of the measure this time around.

Illinois is one of only two states without such a law.

Thanks to Illinois Public Radio