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State

Lawmakers want to tweak concealed carry

SPRINGFIELD (AP) – Illinois lawmakers are considering a series of changes to amend the state’s new concealed carry legislation, even though the first concealed carry permits haven’t been issued.

Some of the proposals would make it easier to get a permit, while others would expand the list of locations where people would be allowed to carry weapons. Others would tighten restrictions, according to a report by The Springfield bureau of Lee Enterprises newspapers.

State Rep. Bill Mitchell, a Forsyth Republican, wants to cut the number of required training hours in half for people who want a concealed carry permit and eliminate a provision that requires concealed carry permit owners to undergo additional training when they renew their license. He also wants to allow some people with concealed-carry permits from other states to continue to carry the weapons in Illinois.

But Rep. Brandon Phelps, a Harrisburg Democrat who was the chief sponsor of the original legislation, said he believes it’s too early to tweak the law.

“Everybody needs to take a deep breath,” he said. “This is monumental legislation. Let’s let it go into effect and see what it’s like before we try to change it.”

He said he doesn’t think many of the concealed carry provisions will get much traction during the legislative session.

Still, Rep. Scott Drury, a Highwood Democrat, said he thinks the law should be changed. He wants to change what he says is ambiguity in the current statute to make sure concealed weapons aren’t brought into businesses where there’s gambling or alcohol.

“The changes that I’m making are just technical changes to clarify the law where I think there’s vague language,” he said.

Illinois’ law bans carrying concealed firearms in places such as schools, child-care facilities, courthouses, public transportation, college and professional sports stadiums and in establishments where alcohol sales make up more than 50 percent of a business’ receipts.

Illinois lawmakers have projected there would be 350,000 to 400,000 applications for concealed carry permits in the first year of the law. Residents could begin to submit applications last month and the first licenses to carry concealed weapons could be issued by spring,

The state is the last in the U.S. to allow the practice.

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