U.S. Rep. Timothy V. Johnson is offering an amendment today to the National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act of 2011, which would extend to Illinois citizens the fundamental right to carry a concealed weapon under property permitting limitations.
The amendment would supersede the Illinois Legislature's refusal to allow this right, which is enjoyed by citizens in all other states of the union.
"This legislation gives me the opportunity to correct a longstanding flaw in Illinois law," Rep. Johnson said. "The right to bear arms is an individual American right expressed in the Constitution, not a right to be abridged at the whim of the state. Illinois is the only state in the Union that does not have a provision to allow citizens a conceal-carry permit. Finally, this amendment would correct that injustice."
The bill is scheduled to be voted on in the full House of Representatives on Tuesday.
Cosponsors of the amendment include Illinois Congressmen Bobby Schilling, Aaron Schock, Randy Hultgren and Adam Kinzinger.
The National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act of 2011, or H.R. 822, would allow any person with a legally recognized carrying permit of another state to be recognized in other states that also have permitting laws. However, the bill excludes Illinois and the District of Columbia because they have no conceal-carry rights whatsoever.
Under Rep. Johnson's amendment, Illinois and D.C. residents would be able to obtain a permit in another state, in accordance with that state's background checks and safety training requirements, and use that permit in Illinois or D.C.
Since 1991, 23 states have adopted some form of conceal-carry and violent crime has dropped 23 percent. The FBI reported violent crime and murders dropped more than 6 percent during the first half of 2010. The national Crime Victimization Survey concluded "robbery and assault victims who used a gun to resist were less likely to be attacked or to suffer an injury than those who used other means for self-defense." Further, a U.S. Department of Justice found that 34 percent of felons had been "scared off, shot at, wounded or captured by an armed victim."