As state leaders debate concealed carry legislation, Lt. Governor Sheila Simon is convening a Firearms Working Group comprised of new members of the General Assembly. The working group includes Republican and Democratic State Senators and Representatives elected to the General Assembly for the first time to represent urban, suburban and rural districts.
They will meet with stakeholders on all sides of the gun control debate as the legislature considers a law that could allow Illinoisans to carry concealed firearms. The goal says Simon, is to learn about different perspectives and bridge the geographical divide on gun ownership and use in Illinois.
Currently Illinois is the only state in the nation with a law banning concealed carry. The law was declared unconstitutional in December by a three-member panel of the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, and the state was ordered to pass a law allowing concealed carry within 180 days. Attorney General Madigan has asked the full 7th Circuit Court for review, but lawmakers are working on legislation in response to the court order and other high-profile gun control issues such as an assault weapons ban.
The group intends to speak with stakeholders on all sides of the gun control debate and work toward consensus on components of the pending legislation. Meetings will be held in Springfield and communities around Illinois where members will meet with gun owners, hunters, families impacted by gun violence, domestic violence prevention advocates, mental health experts, and law enforcement officials. Members will also learn to safely operate a firearm at the Sparta World Shooting Complex.
The Illinois State Rifle Association and the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence plan to meet with the Firearms Working Group in the coming weeks to outline their priorities for concealed carry legislation.
Simon’s Firearms Working Group includes:
- Sen. Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake)
- Sen. Thomas Cullerton (D-Villa Park)
- Sen. Bill Cunningham (D-Chicago)
- Sen. Michael Hastings (D-Orland Park)
- Sen. Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill)
- Sen. Julie Morrison (D-Deerfield)
- Sen. Steve Stadelman (D-Rockford)
- Rep. Tom Demmer (R-Dixon)
- Rep. Scott Drury (D-Highwood)
- Rep. Charles Meier (R-Highland)
- Rep. Christian Mitchell (D-Chicago)
- Rep. Mike Smiddy (D-Hillsdale)
- Rep. Emanuel Welch (D-Hillside)
- Rep. Kathleen Willis (D-Addison)
- Rep. Sam Yingling (D-Round Lake Beach)
Simon says as part of the process she will be applying for a FOID Card.