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State lawmaker: Concealed carry law 'complicated'

Published: Wednesday, July 23, 2014 3:18 p.m. CDT • Updated: Thursday, July 24, 2014 12:24 a.m. CDT
(AP Photo/Seth Perlman, File)
FILE - In this May 23, 2013 file photo, Illinois state Rep. Brandon Phelps, D-Harrisburg, speaks during a House committee hearing on concealed carry at the state Capitol in Springfield. Phelps, who helped push through a bill that allows Illinois residents to carry concealed weapons, is suggesting the law is too hard on gun owners from other states. The law requires people who have permits from other states to get an Illinois permit as well. Phelps says Illinois should recognize permits of other states the way states like Wisconsin and Michigan recognize the Illinois permits.

SPRINGFIELD — A state senator said the law he helped push through that allows Illinois residents to carry concealed weapons is too tough on gun owners from other states.

At issue is a provision in the Firearm Concealed Carry Act that requires gun owners from other states to obtain an Illinois permit even if they have permits from their home states. Most states allow residents who are licensed to carry concealed weapons in their home states to do so in others.

"It's too complicated," said state Rep. Brandon Phelps told The (Springfield) State Journal-Register. "We need to look a little more carefully at how we're treating people from other states."

Saying that many other states have "good standards" when it comes to issuing permits, the Harrisburg Democrat said that those states "should have been granted reciprocity in Illinois."

A number of states honor Illinois' permits, but some states do not because Illinois does not have a reciprocity agreement.

The issue is one of a number of potential problems with the law that was enacted after a federal appellate court in 2012 said Illinois' last-in-the-nation ban on concealed weapons was unconstitutional. By the end of March, with the law less than nine months old, lawmakers had already introduced more than a dozen bills to make changes.

The application process began in January, flooding the state police with tens of thousands of applications for permits. Now, people whose applications were rejected without explanation have filed dozens of lawsuits and hundreds of complaints.

State police announced "emergency rules" this month that call for the Concealed Carry Licensing Review Board to notify applicants not only whether their applications have been rejected, but also why. Rejected applicants will now be told the reasons for credible objections to their applications, the agency that brought those objections as well as put in place a provision that gives applicants ten days to contest rejections.

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