Yesterday, on January 1, 2014, Illinois became the final state to enact concealed carry gun laws. Residents may now apply for a permit, provided they undergo an extensive background check and complete training classes. Should no problems arise, a state-issued permit will arrive within 90 days. Gun injury lawyers at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm take a brief look into what this means for Illinois residents throughout the state.
The new law does have some exceptions, where concealed weapons are not permitted, such as government buildings (museums, libraries, parks, mass transit, etc), hospitals, bars and schools. There are even exceptions to the exceptions: a permit holder may carry a firearm onto a bus or the el, as long as it is unloaded and in a container.
Critics and supporters of the law alike are unhappy with the confusing language and framework of the law, and are voicing their criticisms loudly. One of the loudest voices is of Chicago Police Superintendent, Garry McCarthy, who believes the permit training is inadequate, and that the new law is a “recipe for disaster.” In essence, more guns = more shootings = more problems.
Requirements, Tests and Background Checks
The law places responsibility for issuing and processing concealed carry permits onto the Illinois State Police, surely because they do not have enough gun-related issues to deal with. Applicants must give the police full access to their criminal and medical records, which must be re-submitted every five years.
There is also a shooting test consisting of basic marksmanship and a required four-hour training course. The shooting test entails shooting 20 rounds from seven yards away and ten rounds from 15 yards. Applicants shoot at a target approved by the State Police, and at least 70% of the shots must hit the target.
Supporters and Critics Unite
Neither Governor Pat Quinn nor Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel are huge supporters of the bill, and both have attempted to weaken it. Emanuel in particular is trying to make carrying a concealed firearm in Chicago as difficult as possible (because of this). Throughout the city there will be an array of “gun-free zones,” which include certain roads children take to and from school and restaurants and other businesses that provide alcohol (in the rest of the state, only businesses that receive over half their revenue from liquor are exempt from concealed carry laws).
Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan is also attempting to combat the law as much as possible, along with the Illinois House Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Currie, who is a longtime gun control advocate. Concealed carry supporters, such as State Senator Donne Trotter (who was recently arrested at O’Hare airport for carrying a firearm), believe the law is an important step forward in protecting residents from criminals and other threats.
Concealed carry supports rest their beliefs firmly on the notion that carrying a loaded gun will make a difference in self-defense – despite constant and irrefutable proofs to the contrary. It is difficult even for the most highly-trained policemen to hit anything reliably in a moment of confrontation. Imagine your neighbor Larry trying to fire a shot, during an armed break-in, in the pitch-dark, after being awoken from his R.E.M cycle.
Even pro-gun professionals debunk the theory that guns would make any difference in such a situation, most recently Michael Weisser, who authored Guns For Good Guys; Guns For Bad Guys, and who was just covered by the New Yorker. Weissler affirms that gun legislation and enforcement is incredibly complex and nuanced, it is ingrained in our culture and families and our ideas about power. He asserts that before enforcement and remedial practices may begin, we have to thoroughly understand the issue, which is where we should begin in Illinois.
Gun injury lawyers at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm offer free legal consultations to anyone concerned about the process of filing a claim. We work with clients who were seriously injured by the negligence of another, including by knowing disregard involving firearms.