New Gun Laws in Illinois

Over the past year, Community Renewal Society (CRS) advocated for common-sense anti-trafficking gun measures, including universal background checks, reporting lost and stolen weapons, and titling—registering—guns. HB 1189, the Gun Safety and Responsibility Act, closes the loophole on background checks and requires the reporting of lost or stolen firearms to law enforcement. We celebrate this victory because it enacts two of the strongest regulations to stop the flow of illegal guns into our communities, but we are still waiting for Governor Quinn to sign the bill into law.

HB 183, the concealed carry bill, passed the Illinois General Assembly by a shocking margin on May 31, 2013. Eighty-nine out of 118 House members and 45 out of 60 Senators voted for the bill. A surprising number of gun-control legislators voted for this bill, and Mayor Emanuel was neutral on it. HB 183 makes it legal for loaded, concealed handguns to be carried in churches, unless a sign prohibiting guns is posted.

CRS advocated for legislators to support Governor Quinn’s amendatory vetos to make ten common-sense changes in the bill, which would have, among other things, banned guns from establishments serving alcohol, limited the number of concealed guns and the amount of ammunition an individual could legally carry, and clarified mental health reporting. Both the House and the Senate voted by a supermajority on July 9, 2013 to override his vetos. The Senate passed HB 1453, a “trailer” bill that included three of Quinn’s changes, but it failed in the House.

Please take a minute to let your legislators know how you feel about their votes. You can find their contact information here.

It will likely be 2014 before any firearm owners are permitted to carry concealed handguns in public. Illinois State Police (ISP) officials have 180 days—roughly six months—to create an application process. Once the ISP begins accepting applications, it will take them about 90 days to process and screen the first round of applications and begin issuing permits. Until then, the ban on concealed carry will remain officially in effect.

There will also be an opportunity to work on an amendment to the concealed carry law that will ban guns in churches and other houses of worship.

We look forward to continuing to work together to keep our communities safe from gun violence. Thank you for your advocacy!