WON Landing Page OCT 2022

Sara Ahrens’ Offbeat: Illinois’ concealed carry bill HB-183 is a joke … but it’s not funny

Status of Illinois’ concealed carry bill

Illinois politicians reluctantly drafted and passed concealed carry bill HB-183that is now awaiting Governor Pat Quinn’s approval. As another tactic to stall the implementation of concealed carry in Illinois, Attorney General Lisa Madigan requested and received a 30-day extension. She argued that the additional 30 days would give Governor Quinn adequate time to fulfill his state constitutional responsibilities. But the drafter of the law, Senator Gary Forby, advised that Governor Quinn was “playing games.” Senator Forby also advised that even if Quinn vetoed the bill, he has the 3/5s votes needed to override him. Another extension will not be granted, so Governor Quinn has until July 9, 2013, to respond.

The bill’s oppressive restrictions

In reviewing the concealed carry law, there are some obvious flaws; it’s also clear that the legislatures wrote the bill under duress. Their reluctance to allow law-abiding citizens in Illinois to carry concealed is at best reckless. Reviewing the bill, I found myself frustrated about all the prohibitions. Perhaps the politicians should have listed the places and conditions that Illinois residents are permitted to carry instead of where they are forbidden, since that list would be far shorter.

Illinois’ misguided concealed carry law prohibits carrying a firearm in the following areas:

  • School and university properties — both public and private
  • Court houses
  • Libraries
  • Airports
  • Gaming facilities
  • Stadiums, arenas and sporting events
  • Amusement parks
  • Museums and zoos
  • Local government buildings:
    • Correctional facilities
    • Hospitals, mental health facilities and nursing homes – both public and private
  • Public transportation
  • Any establishment that serves alcohol and makes more than half of its revenue from the consumption of alcohol
  • Any public gathering or special event that requires a government permit
  • Any building where a special event liquor license has been issued (only during the event hours)
  • Public playgrounds and parks, athletic areas or facilities under the control of a municipality or park district – an exception was made for bike paths that are only partially in such a location
  • Property controlled by Cook County Forest Preserve
  • Any area forbidden by private property owners

Many of these aforementioned locales are precisely where protection is necessary. So, where can Illinois citizens carry concealed? It seems to me that it’s limited to a public way (street,) private property (with permission,) in a car, when “passing through” a prohibited location or in parking lots. That’s about it. And anyone who intentionally or unintentionally violates this law may be subject to criminal prosecution.

This bill may cause more harm than good

State Representative and Police Officer John Cabello raised one valid issue: the potential danger posed by citizens having to remove, unload and case their firearms publicly in order to abide by this law. He recognizes that negligent discharges happen. This isn’t the only danger.

The act of removing a firearm in public in order to store it in a case or car may cause some citizens to be targeted by criminals. Burglaries to motor vehicles, strong-arm robberies (no weapon) and armed robberies are crimes that plague Illinois. This law will require those who exercise their right to potentially expose (the opposite of conceal) their weapon to others. Even if criminals were unaware of a gun’s existence, upon stealing or burglarizing a vehicle, they’d discover it. I foresee this requirement resulting in one of three scenarios:

  1. A widespread increase of stolen firearms and crime in general
  2. Conviction of law abiding citizens who, under certain circumstances, may feel forced to violate the law
  3. Be so burdensome that citizens don’t bother carrying at all

In short, the politician’s irrational fears regarding the arming of law-abiding citizens will probably result in arming more criminals. I find this ironic since storeowners in Illinois are allowed to have  firearms. I have firsthand knowledge of the benefits of this exclusion. From my experience, I believe that a properly crafted concealed carry law would deter crime.

Illinois Residents Deserve Better

The State of Illinois is financially destitute, with dwindling economic prospects. These issues have an impact on the crime rate and have forced reductions in police staffing. When government can no longer provide the level of protection dictated by the crime rate, it must allow citizens to protect themselves. This bill clearly communicates that Illinois politicians do not care about their constituent’s safety. Thanks for nothing!



The Conversation

  • Dustin Ellermann says: July 31, 2013 at 8:40 pm

    Sara thanks for being a real American and awesome cop by supporting common sense concealed carry like this 🙂 You bring up some very valid points. “Gun Free Zones” are completely illogical and unsafe. But unfortunately even Texas is just about restrictive on the “places you can’t carry list” as the list above. Not too much is different, except museums, library’s, and public property is only off limits if posted with specific signage. Hopefully if we keep fighting we can regain the right to keep and bear arms. Stay safe!

  • Gretchen says: June 24, 2013 at 2:48 pm

    I think more than any thing to me, as a fellow frustrated Illinois resident, this represents the vast disconnect between the state legislature and those of us who deep southern Illinois residents. It seems once again that the Chicagoland machine is controlling the entire state. Talk with the members of the legislature from downstate and you’ll get a good look at how hard they fought against these ridiculous rules, but ultimately were backed into a corner and this was the best they had any hope of getting passed. Better yet talk with any of the members of Congressman Bill Enyarts Control Task Force. Downstate Illinois is NOT happy with the status quo, nor this bill. Word around the statehouse is that Quinn is going to veto it. Additional word around the statehouse is that there will be an outcry and uprising that has been long coming should that happen. We’ll know soon.

  • Jack says: June 22, 2013 at 8:02 am

    Exactly. I think all the politicians that voted for this should be voted out. What’s wrong with constitutional carry? It’s because them hypocrites still want control. What a joke they are.

    • Sara Ahrens says: June 27, 2013 at 2:57 am

      Gretchen and Jack,
      Its not just the south, I live in northern Illinois and work in a city where armed robberies, homicides, aggravated batteries, home invasions, and other violent crime is the accepted environment. You would not believe what I see and deal with and to deter this crime requires citizens to be allowed to carry. I would bet my pension (not that it will still be there) that if the concealed carry law was legitimate, it would only take a couple shootings by law abiding citizens before criminals would begin to rethink their victims and strategies.I really think it will help crime. Not to mention I have no idea WHO the state is afraid of arming. For Pete’s sake, there are criminals literally walking around armed, or driving around and shooting up houses and the shootings go back and forth, sometimes every day for weeks. Its time to try and reduce the carnage. Im not opposed to a stricter law about locking guns up in safes because that’s where most criminals get their firearms. The down side is that people wont report their weapons stolen if they know they’ll be arrested. You know some municipalities are charging citizens for removal of explosives. So if a WWII veteran dies and has a souvenir grenade, the bomb squad responds. Some cities are sending the bill to the caller for the wages, which is alot because of the length of time. So what will that result in? Exactly what society doesnt need, people disposing of that stuff in trash cans, sewer drains etc… Sometimes politicians need to consider the ramifications of their decisions and start basing them on the citizen’s needs, not their own agendas.