Saturday, May 18, 2013

Illinois Bill Would Give Police Complete Control Over Gun Permits

It may be a last ditch effort to keep ordinary citizens from having legal guns, but there have always been plenty of illegal guns in criminal hands in Chicago.

Recently, a federal court found that the Illinois ban on concealed carry firearms was unconstitutional. An Illinois Senate Panel was forced to approve a measure that allows people to carry concealed weapons, but state legislators are still having trouble seeing eye-to-eye over the tiny details.

The Senate Executive Committee voted 10-4 supporting a bill by Senator Kwame Raoul (D). Raoul acknowledged that his bill wasn’t bulletproof, but he hoped to act swiftly in response to the federal mandate. He said, "It's an imperfect process, it's an imperfect product, but it's an attempt to act on something. I don't know what the end game is, but I'm trying to do something to respond to the mandate of the court, to promote public safety and balance the right of law-abiding gun owners in the process."

It all sounds as though Raoul is working in the best interests of gun owners, when in fact gun owners are crying out against the bill. One of the biggest complaints is that Chicago residents would need to get both a statewide gun permit and a permit from the Chicago police. Essentially, this would give the Chicago police full discretion over who can and can’t carry a firearm inside of Chicago, because the state-issued permit would be next to useless on its own.

Raoul, who lives in Chicago, hasn’t been able to quell the concerns of gun rights activists. The NRA points to a clause in the bill that requires police to find that applicants are “of good moral character” and have a “proper reason” to carry a concealed firearm.

That vague terminology allows the Chicago Police Department to have the final say over who gets to legally carry a firearm in one of the nation’s most crime-wracked cities.

Sen. Dale Righter (R) feared that police would be able to deny permits for vague reasons like being a bad parent.

NRA lobbyist Todd Vandermyde said, "This is not a carry bill. This is a bill to discourage people and prevent people from exercising their fundamental, constitutional right to keep and bear arms for self-defense in the public.”

Is Sen. Raoul trying to defend the rights of gun owners by introducing this bill, or is this a last-ditch effort to keep guns out of Chicago?


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