Coalition forms to oppose concealed carry

By Dannis Valera

A coalition launched Monday, Nov. 26, in opposition to the possibility of Illinois lifting the ban on carrying concealed weapons, in light of the Illinois legislative veto session.

They are dubbed the Stop Concealed Carry Coalition and are made up of several community leaders, religious leaders, political leaders, and victims of mass shootings.

“We need to make sure Illinois leads this nation by saying conceal carry is not the right thing,” said Cook County Commissioner Larry Suffredin.

Out of all 50 states, Illinois is the only one that still has a ban on concealed carrying of weapons. The Illinois Carry Forum, an organization that tracks guns-rights in the state, has been a main advocate for Illinois to conform with the other states.

“Creating a situation where innocent victims are also defenseless victims does not mean you are being a leader,” said Illinois Carry spokesperson Valinda Rowe. “The law abiding people in the state of Illinois are no different than people in all the other states and that right to protect themselves should be recognized in this state.”

At the press conference, Reverend Michael Pfleger said that if someone has a gun they’re going to use it in their first line of defense.

Rowe says that gun owners know better.

“When you go through the training, the background checks and the education about being a responsible gun owner—you know right upfront that that firearm is a last resort.”

As a part of the bill, there is a list of restricted areas where people wouldn’t be allowed to have concealed weapons. These include federal buildings, college campuses and places of worship. But the coalition remains skeptical.

“You can write into law that they’re exempt from churches and they’re exempt from schools, but once you have concealed carry—you’re not going to have someone at the door at every place it’s exempt checking guns,” said Suffredin.

Earlier this month, 10 counties voted in favor of having concealed carry laws passed. They are all mostly rural counties and passed overwhelmingly in each one, according to a report by the Chicago Tribune.