Concealed Carry in Illinois

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ILLINOIS (WIFR) -- The Illinois legislature is just weeks away from a federally-mandated deadline to do create a concealed carry law. Now one woman says she's learned the hard way why she thinks carrying a gun is best for her safety.

Loud gun shots echo inside the Pine Tree Pistol Club in Rockford. It’s a noise that would startle some people, but for Molly, it’s comforting in a way.

“When I was 12 my dad took my brother and I somewhere in Wisconsin and he gave us a little 380 and showed us safety and how to use it,” said Molly.

After 9/11 Molly and her husband bought their own gun and started practicing. Molly says the most important thing about a gun isn’t fun or target practice, but safety and one scary situation is a reminder.

A few years ago she was walking into a store in Philadelphia when, as she says, “I was approached by two very large men, I tried to put some distance between us and one of them was like ‘hey come back here’ and they kept getting closer and closer and they started chasing me so I ran.”

That’s when Molly decided to always carry a gun with her, while she lived in Pennsylvania. Now, this is something she wants people to be able to do in Illinois.

Legislators must pass a concealed carry law by June 8th as mandated by federal court.

Gaen McClendon does not support concealed carry. He believes more guns lead to more violence.

In fact, the elderly man who was shot in the leg and whose wife was sent to the hospital last month after a Rockford home invasion are McClendon’s neighbors.

“Advocates indicate or they tout the idea that crime drops precipitously after that legislation has passed, but that’s not the case,” McClendon said.

McClendon thinks there’s not enough data to support more or less crime, no matter what your opinion is on concealed carry.

“I certainly don’t approve of it, more violence is caused by people who aren’t law abiding citizens,” McClendon said.

In just a few weeks, it appears Illinois will no longer be the only state that does not have a concealed carry law. A concealed carry bill failed in the Illinois House last month. It would’ve prohibited carrying in educational and religious facilities. Another part being debated is “may carry” vs. “shall carry.” “May carry” would allow a person to be denied a concealed carry permit even if that person passed all the requirements, including a background check. “Shall carry” could not deny someone a permit as long as they passed those requirements.

Also up for debate, the number of training hours that would be required to get a concealed carry permit.

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