Over the objection of Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Illinois Governor Pat Quinn, it will soon be legal to carry a concealed weapon on the streets of Chicago.
The change in the law comes via the actions of conservatives in the Illinois Legislature, as well as from a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that discarded a Chicago “carve-out” exemption that would have continued to allow Cook County and its municipalities to pass broad gun bans. A supermajority of the State Legislature passed a “veto-proof” concealed carry bill in January, making Illinois a “shall-issue” State in spite of the Governor’s strident opposition. Under the law, the State police are responsible for the licensing process, a prerogative that can’t be usurped by municipal fiat.
While 2nd Amendment supporters aren’t crazy about Illinois’ gun laws in general, those among Cook County’s 358,000 gun owners (yes, that number represents those who are “registered”) can at least expect the same measure of protection (or infringement) under the State’s mechanism for regulating gun ownership as that enjoyed by residents everywhere else in Illinois.
Under the new law, the Illinois State Police shall issue a concealed carry license to “any gun owner with a state-issued Firearm Owners Identification [FOI] card, who passes a background check, pays a $150 fee, and undergoes 16 hours of training.” FOI permits must be renewed every five years, and guns are still outlawed in government buildings and on college and school campuses.
On the bright side, any municipality that takes steps to add its own regulations on top of the State gun law faces a per-day penalty of $10,000 per occurrence — even Chicago.