COLUMNS

LaHood: Distractions on the path to Concealed-Carry Provision

Staff Writer
Woodford Times

In Illinois, recently the dialogue on concealed-carry has been redirected onto other issues such as an "assault weapons" ban and privacy issues regarding FOID card holders.

Early in 2011, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan's office issued an advisory opinion saying that the State Police should make FOID card information subject to the Freedom of Information Act.

That opinion could have been a negative setback for gun owners and potentially created a public database that would have been a dream for criminals in all parts of the state.

As a result of the potential problems, legislators of both parties and chambers joined together to pass Public Act 97-0080 to protect the privacy rights of firearm owners.

When Gov. Pat Quinn issued an Amendatory Veto of Senate Bill 681 on July 31, he signaled intent to erode some of our basic rights.

The underlying bill was not controversial. SB 681 would have allowed Illinois citizens to purchase ammunition from in-state FFL dealers my mail-order.

The governor stripped out that provision and replaced it with a first-step gun ban.

I will work with my colleagues to override the governor's veto and allow SB 681 to stand as passed by the General Assembly.

The United States and Illinois Constitutions are pretty clear on firearm ownership.

Both of these documents reinforce our basic rights to bear arms and self-protection; however, our state has tended to lag behind and certain Chicago political leaders have taken efforts to narrow or eliminate our Second Amendment rights.

Sadly, it seems that Illinoisans can only achieve Second Amendment victories through the state or federal court systems.

Two key decisions have reaffirmed our Second Amendment rights; (District of Columbia vs. Heller) & (McDonald vs. City of Chicago) and could serve as the basis to enact concealed-carry in Illinois.

Supporters of the Second Amendment need to remain vigilant and continue to politely lobby Illinois legislators about the passage of a concealed-carry provision.

Several bills that are floating around the General Assembly that could be used as a vehicle for eventual passage and I look forward to supporting them.

As your State Senator, I want to reassure you that I am committed to the Second Amendment and bringing Illinois in line with the 49 other states that have passed concealed-carry provisions.

As a former prosecutor, I am fully aware that where concealed-carry provisions have passed in other states, crimes rates have dropped.

Darin LaHood, R-Dunlap, is a state senator who represents Woodford County, as well as other communities.