Public needs gun carry law, county group advocate says

WOODSTOCK – Frances Colon was named after her grandmother.

The 18-year-old Chicago woman was shot in Humboldt Park about a week and a half ago, the president of the McHenry County Right To Carry Association said.

Michael Schuch introduced the elder Frances Colon, a longtime family friend, to a group of about 50 who gathered at the Woodstock Veterans of Foreign Wars post Monday evening for an update on what’s happening with concealed carry in Illinois.

“That young girl, perhaps she could have had a chance to defend herself, but by the laws of Chicago, by the laws of Illinois, she was naked on the street against a grown man,” Schuch said.

Colon, who lives about two blocks from where her granddaughter was fatally shot in the back, was visiting the family and wanted to come hear Schuch speak, she said, adding that what he’s doing is good.

The people who obtain guns legally “aren’t the ones who are messing up and killing people,” she said after the meeting. “It’s the people that are getting the guns illegally.”

Schuch isn’t in favor of just anyone being able to carry a concealed weapon. Throughout the evening, he stressed the importance of education and said one of the goals of the McHenry County association is to expose members to “real, quality trainers.”

While the association endorses House Bill 997, a bill introduced by state Rep. Brandon Phelps, D-Harrisburg, and signed onto by 46 other representatives, Schuch said he thinks it’s “ridiculous” that the bill only requires four hours of training.

Another proposed bill is similar to Phelps’ but requires eight hours of training and has a higher initial fee.

Getting a driver’s license, in comparison, requires months of training, Schuch said, adding that he doesn’t think a concealed weapons permit should require that much. Schuch is a National Rifle Association instructor.

Phelps’ bill is one of three floating around Springfield in the wake of a federal appellate court’s decision that Illinois’ ban on concealed carry is unconstitutional. The court gave the Legislature until June 8 to get something passed.

A third shell bill has been introduced by Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago. Some concealed-carry advocates, including McHenry County Board member Ken Koehler, who updated Monday’s attendees on what’s happening in Springfield, expect the bill to be restrictive.

Madigan has scheduled a hearing for this morning to allow legislators to submit amendments on the issue.

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