NRA Lobbied Against License to Carry Bill in IL

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Nov 20, 2003

With friends like these - who needs enemies . . .
NRA Lobbied Against License to Carry Bill in IL

A little background first. For the past decade and a half license-to-carry bills introduced in the IL General Assembly have become routine and hold little to no expectation of passing due to opposition from the Chicago/Cook Co. legislators. That opposition means every year the same old bills calling for statewide preemption which would force the carry law into Chicago guarantees the bill is dead on arrival. A bill or two may make the headlines but never to the floor for a vote largely due to the opposition of Mayor Daley and Cook County legislators. The likelihood of a statewide preemption bill being passed is greatly reduced by the fact that bills preempting home rule status require 71 votes for passage rather than a simple majority of 60. Double or triple that reduction by the fact that in Chicago it is illegal to even own a handgun let alone carry one for self-defense purposes. We find it somewhat ludicrous to even consider a statewide preemptive bill passing in the state of Illinois given those circumstances.

Other states like Ohio and Nebraska faced years of major opposition like this. They finally won their battle by passing a carry law which we in Illinois would call "subject to home rule". An imperfect bill that allowed major cities to opt out but did provide a means for license-to-carry to get a foothold in the state. Pro-Second Amendment groups in Ohio were then able to prove carrying firearms for self-defense works and they came back in just a few short years and successfully expanded the law to include everyone. Nebraska, just two short years after passing their license-to-carry bill now has statewide preemption according to their state's Attorney General and are now working to amend their law.

With those recent successes in mind many license-to-carry supporters in Illinois were very excited when down state Representative Brandon Phelps courageously decided it was time to try the same strategy in Illinois - how about a bill that would require only a simple majority of 60 votes, would provide an opportunity for license-to-carry to get a foot in the door, something similar to what has been so successful in Ohio and Nebraska . . . how about a "subject to home rule" bill which would allow home rule municipalities to opt out if they so chose but citizens in the vast majority of the state would be free to exercise their constitutional right to keep and bear arms? The Citizens Self-defense Act, HB 2257, was born.

Keeping in mind a statewide preemptive law is the ultimate goal, IllinoisCarry members, including members residing in municipalities sure to ban the practice, have given their full support to the idea of subject to home rule carry and believe the premise behind it is the best hope of getting any kind of license-to-carry bill passed in the state of Illinois.

HB2257 started off with good promise, the sponsor reported he felt sure he could garner the 60 votes needed to pass it out of the House. So it came as a huge shock and disappointment to learn from legislators that the NRA was actually lobbying against it.

When contacted by lllinoisCarry the NRA-ILA lobbyist confirmed the NRA-ILA was indeed lobbying against the bill and vowed to kill it. The reason given for the opposition was that the bill did not include statewide preemption, that it would create a patchwork of ordinances all across the state which could be detrimental to license holders, and it would ultimately be vetoed by Gov. Quinn and still need 71 votes for a veto override. Therefore we should continue to wait and work toward a change in the political makeup of the IL legislature.

IllinoisCarry maintains that statewide preemption didn't pass even when we did have a more favorable party in office and continuing to wait for countless more years will only result in more defenseless victims being violently assaulted and murdered. Citizens in the rest of the state where license to carry is being welcomed should not be denied the right to defend themselves just because other municipalities choose to infringe on their citizens' rights.

Furthering the argument for a subject to home rule bill like HB2257, IllinoisCarry is confident it will lead to statewide preemption as it has in Ohio and Nebraska. IL firearm owners already have to work within a patchwork of city ordinances concerning firearms and a look at the listing of city ordinances on the Illinois State Police website would verify that fact. Although Gov. Quinn may very well veto the bill, we will never know that if every such bill is killed by the NRA-ILA without a good hard push for passage.

We need the NRA-ILA and their hardworking lobbyists on the IL Second Amendment team. But we differ greatly on this issue of denying an opportunity for a subject to home rule bill to come to a vote. The NRA-ILA lobbyist for Illinois is one of the best in the country and has been invaluable in the battle to curtail bad gun bills in the state of Illinois. We recognize a lobbyist must follow the bidding of the organization they represent. We have been assured by him that if the NRA-ILA changes their stance on the issue to one of support then he will support the issue also.

Now after weeks of conversation with the NRA-ILA, their leadership team has temporarily changed their position from opposition to neutral while they claim to study the issue. It is our opinion a subject to home rule license-to-carry bill will not advance in Illinois without the support of the NRA-ILA. We need the NRA to SUPPORT subject to home rule carry in Illinois.


If you are an NRA member, resident of Illinois, visit Illinois, or even travel through Illinois please call the numbers below - REMEMBER BE POLITE BUT FIRM- and tell them you want their support for subject to home rule license-to-carry in Illinois. If you are a resident of Chicago or any other municipality that might exercise the right to "opt out" of concealed carry, assure the NRA-ILA that you know the most effective and expeditious way to get concealed carry into your area is to get it into the rest of the state first. Do not let them get caught up in HB2257 specifically - bills can be amended, it's the issue of subject to home rule we want them to support.

Contact the following NRA-ILA leadership team:

Chris Cox
Executive Director
1-703-267-3973 fax
[email protected]

Scott Christman
Assist. Ex. Dir.
[email protected]

Randy Kozuch
ILA-State and Local Affairs
703-267-3976 fax
[email protected]
The NRA is 100% right. Home rule is an important part of the way Illinois government is organized. A bill without preemption would undoubtedly resulting a crazy quilt of places where a permit was invalid. If you don't believe me, just look at the list of local ordinances regarding firearms on the ISP page.

This was stupid legislation and would have resulted in a huge mess. Any permit must be valid statewide.

Do you really want to be able to legally carry a gun so badly that you are willing to risk arrest and a felony UUW conviction because you crossed a municipal boundary?
Sorry Jeff, but in just a few moments people from other states with completely different laws will be in here to say the NRA screwed up and that it was a good bill.

BTW, I agree with your post, just saying there will be some interesting debate going to occur.
I really don't care what people in other states think. They don't live here, their opinion is immaterial. If they want a voice in what happens here in Illinois they are welcome to move here and join the fight. If they aren't willing to do that, then they need to stay out of our business.
I live in Illinois, Jeff, and I would rather be able to carry in some places in Illinois rather than none. I don't think we'd end up with a "patchwork" of different laws either. For the most part, the anti-gun towns (i.e. Chicago and some suburbs) would vote to restrict concealed carry, but there would be huge swaths of Southern Illinois where carrying would be legal. I'm sure plenty of Southern-Illinoisans could go about their normal lives and never have to worry about stepping foot in an unfriendly Illinois town.

I would also welcome the chance to put the issue in front of the governor. If he vetoes it, then that would be a rallying point against him in the next election.
I'm sure plenty of Southern-Illinoisans could go about their normal lives and never have to worry about stepping foot in an unfriendly Illinois town.

Really? You do know that there is no legal way to transport a firearm in Carbondale don't you?

This is from the Illinois Constitution:
(a) A County which has a chief executive officer elected
by the electors of the county and any municipality which has
a population of more than 25,000 are home rule units. Other
municipalities may elect by referendum to become home rule
Except as limited by this Section, a home rule unit
may exercise any power and perform any function pertaining to
its government and affairs including, but not limited to, the
power to regulate for the protection of the public health,
safety, morals and welfare; to license; to tax; and to incur

The village of 400 I live in could become a home rule entity by referendum. There is a lot of advantage for a unit of government in doing that. Many of them have.

Here is a list compiled by the Illinois Municipal League of home ruel municipalities as of December 1, 2008:

Home Rule Municipalities
As of 12/01/08 there are 198 Home Rule Municipalities in Illinois

Arlington Heights
Barrington Hills
Bedford Park
Buffalo Grove
Calumet City
Calumet Park
Carbon Cliff
Carol Stream
Chicago Heights
Chicago Ridge
Country Club Hills
Crystal Lake
Des Plaines

Downers Grove
East Dundee
East Hazel Crest
East St. Louis
Elk Grove Village
Elmwood Park
Evergreen Park
Fairview Heights
Forest View
Glen Ellyn
Glendale Heights
Granite City
Hanover Park
Harwood Heights
Hazel Crest
Highland Park
Hoffman Estates
Homer Glen
Hopkins Park
Lake Barrington
Lake Bluff
Lake Forest
Lake in th Hills

Morton Grove
Mound City
Mount Prospect
Mount Vernon
New Lenox
North Chicago
North Utica
Oak Forest
Oak Lawn
Oak Park
Oakbrook Terrace
Old Mill Creek
Orland Park
Park City
Park Forest
Park Ridge
Peoria Heights
Prairie Grove

Rock Island
Rolling Meadows
Round Lake Beach
Saint Charles
Schiller Park
South Barrington
South Holland
Stone Park
Tinley Park
University Park
West Chicago
West City
West Dundee
West Frankfort

CCW could conceivably be illegal in any or all of them if this is what we end up with for CCW.

For the most part, the anti-gun towns (i.e. Chicago and some suburbs) would vote to restrict concealed carry, but there would be huge swaths of Southern Illinois where carrying would be legal.

It's one thing to say it's ok to own guns, it becomes something else agin when you talk to people about carrying guns. I am positive you'd be surprised at how much anti CCW sentiment you'd see on home rule city councils.
Being from New York where we also have home rule I understand the position of the NRA, however it would be nice to have a foot in the door. I believe that if the bill came to pass, even without preemption you could build a good case to make it the law of the entire state. If it passed and it was shown that responsible ccw-ers weren't out of control, as the antis would have you believe, then legislators could point to how well it worked in those counties and lobby for statewide carry.
Home rule is sacrosanct in Illinois. Pass this law without preemption and you'll never see CCW statewide.
Jeff, you and the NRA are correct. You need the preemption in the bill for it to be a true CCW statewide. I know some back home have voted to allow CCW within the county, but I'm not sure how far that got. From personal experience, I know several who carry that have LEO friends that "don't notice". This direction will also lead to the patchwork state. If CT, MA, NY, even CA have somewhat reasonable CCW laws (not perfect obviously), there is no reason to think IL can't have a statewide CCW. If the state wants to give home rules to Chi'town specifically, that's one thing, but letting every city or town have home rules is nuts!
Jeff, while I do not live in IL, nor would I consider moving there to join the fight, I'm still going to stick my nose in and say I agree.
I Love The Fact...

That those who believe the NRA is somehow wrong in this actually believe that a state with home rule wouldn't set up so many different laws in every municipal area that a gun owner would have to carry an entire library of law books to see what the law was to go to the next town, let alone across the state.

It never fails, there's gotta be someone who actually believes the NRA is somehow against gun owners, no matter the issue.
And here I thought the problem with the NRA was that they were too willing to compromise, too willing to pass any pro-gun legislation even if there were compromises associated with it...

Seems like they just can't find a way to make all the people happy all of the time. You'd think that someone (maybe even someone from Illinois) would have figured out by now that's impossible. :D
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while i dont live there i agree that the entire state must be legal or else people would run into problems inadvertantly

people would go into a town that they didnt know it would be illegal to carry then get pulled and end up never being able to own a gun again even though they were trying to follow the law the best they knew how
Ohio's CCW law in 2004 did contain a preemption section.

SECTION 9. The General Assembly finds that licenses to carry concealed handguns are a matter of statewide concern and wishes to ensure uniformity throughout the state regarding the qualifications for a person to hold a license to carry a concealed handgun and the authority granted to a person holding a license of that nature. It is the intent of the General Assembly in amending sections 1547.69, 2911.21, 2921.13, 2923.12, 2923.121, 2923.123, 2923.16, 2953.32, and 4749.10 and enacting sections 109.69, 109.731, 311.41, 311.42, and 2923.124 to 2923.1213 of the Revised Code to enact laws of a general nature, and, by enacting those laws of a general nature, the state occupies and preempts the field of issuing licenses to carry a concealed handgun and the validity of licenses of that nature. No municipal corporation may adopt or continue in existence any ordinance, and no township may adopt or continue in existence any resolution, that is in conflict with those sections, including, but not limited to, any ordinance or resolution that attempts to restrict the places where a person possessing a valid license to carry a concealed handgun may carry a handgun concealed.

This section was widely ignored by the home rule cities and resulted in a court case: Ohioans for Concealed Carry vs. City of Clyde. While this case was working its way through the court system, a much more strongly worded preemption statute was passed in 2006, which took effect in 2007.

OFCC won its case In the Ohio Supreme Court last September.
I lived in IL for quite a few years, and I think that allowing home rule on this issue would be a dangerous thing, since once that bill passed, there would be even less incentive for a statewide bill to pass. Politicians from IL are not swayed by logic, examples, or history. Realistically, it would be better to somehow find a way to fight it in the courts than to try to get it passed in the legislator up there. I would think it would be easier to push a open-carry bill through (or sue for open-carry) and then once people started to openly carry, the legislator would have an incentive to pass CCW (from all the people clamoring that they don't want to see guns on the street any more). But who knows - there are many more people finally getting the 2a, so maybe the politicians will have a change of heart. :)
hnk45acp wrote:

Being from New York where we also have home rule I understand the position of the NRA, however it would be nice to have a foot in the door. I believe that if the bill came to pass, even without preemption you could build a good case to make it the law of the entire state. If it passed and it was shown that responsible ccw-ers weren't out of control, as the antis would have you believe, then legislators could point to how well it worked in those counties and lobby for statewide carry.

Depending upon the is sometimes a good idea to do things incrementally as you submit. However, in this case....I believe the NRA is "spot on" and that any measure to pass this bill (other than statewide) would indeed result in a hodge podge of restrictions that would prove disastrous to CCW.

As concerns the perceived need to "demonstrate" to legislators that "CCW's are responsible", we need only look to the rest of the nation. With only a few exceptions...the entire nation has some form of "carry" for it's law abiding (and otherwise qualified) citizens. We are all doing just fine.

Illinois simply suffers from the wants of a few political figures and the complacency of it's own citizens (up to now).
I don't live in Illinois...but, as a truck driver, I'm up there quite a bit more than I'd like to be.

The NRA is smart enough to know that in a state that is as far left (and corrupt) as IL...nothing short of "statewide preemption" will work.

The powers that be in IL are dead set against legally armed simply won't work like it did in Ohio and Nebraska (Daley and Co. won't let it...plain and simple truth)
JeffWhite: In 2005-2006 the village of Carbondale changed the law and allows people to transport their firearms legally. I personally attended the townhall meeting in which this happened. All of the board voted unanimously to invalidate the law.
Call the NRA to Support Subject to Home Rule

The first thing the NRA lobbyist said when we called him on this issue was that Carbondale and Peoria had passed laws to keep Concealed out if it passed. We put feet on the ground and found that indeed Carbondale passed laws to welcome CC and Peoria was supportive also!

Did you know that 90 of the 102 Counties in IL have passed a pro-second amendment resolution in the past couple of years? Several counties have put a concealed carry referendum on their ballot...Pope county passed it by 90%!

The anti-gunners always try to scare pro-gun legislation by speculating on the negatives. That is what I see happening here.
NE passed their CCW without preemption in 06 and are now working on legislation for preemption statewide. Get your foot in the door...Prove it works...Let the courts do their jobs and pull the law into the opt-out communities.

This bill includes reciprocity which would allow carry from visiting states without risking the NOW FELONY! Also, any legal carry person caught in non-carry area is a misdemeanor instead of the NOW FELONY!

All or nothing = NOTHING in IL. Subject to home rule means a simple majority required instead of super majority vote. That doesn't mean that Madigan won't impose a super majority but, if we don't try, they are only speculating. Besides why let him off the hook? Put the thing out there and force their hand.

All we are asking is let the rest of the state have a chance. IL has no carry- open or concealed. We are the only one like that. Tell the women that have died carrying their restraining orders in their pockets that we need to wait another 10 years...NRA has been using the same approach for more than 15 years...We have a part time lobbyist (he lobbies for 2 other entities) We value him highly.
Call the polite but firm...Ask them to support subject to home rule.
City of Cleveland, OH is STILL fighting against the pre-emption parts of the law.

Hey, Mayor "Li'l Frankie Jackson"...give it up already. Yu lost. Stop wasting what little money Cleveland has on hand now.
I'm guessing the rest of the state in enjoying the freedom....

This is our point.:banghead: Should the state be denied because of one city or group?
This was successful in NE too.;)
Home rule is sacrosanct in Illinois. Pass this law without preemption and you'll never see CCW statewide.

I agree. In fact, if it were to happen and near-to-Chicago communities permitted concealed carry, I'm positive that Mayor Daley would start blaming Chicago's crime problems on that.

It's hard enough keeping up with the laws as one passes from one state to another. Having conflicting laws every mile or two as you drive down the road would be an impossible situation and no better than the current situation.
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