All 50 States Now Enjoy Concealed-Carry

by Charles C. W. Cooke

Finally, that magic number: 50. Per USA Today:

Illinois became the last state in the nation to allow public possession of concealed guns as lawmakers rushed Tuesday to finalize a proposal ahead of a federal court’s deadline.

Both chambers of the Legislature voted to override changes Gov. Pat Quinn made to the bill they approved more than a month ago. Even some critics of the law argued it was better to approve something rather than risk the courts allowing virtually unregulated concealed weapons in Chicago, which has endured severe gun violence in recent months.

The Senate voted 41-17 in favor of the override Tuesday afternoon after the House voted 77-31, margins that met the three-fifths threshold needed to set aside the amendatory veto. Quinn had used his veto authority to suggest changes such as prohibiting guns in restaurants that serve alcohol and limiting gun-toting citizens to one firearm at a time.

Pat Quinn is a fierce opponent of concealed carry. As he reminded voters recently:

I campaigned in the primary and the general election against allow private citizens to carry loaded, concealed handguns in public places. I don’t think that’s healthy if you’re going and you bump into somebody accidentally, well they can pull out a loaded, concealed handgun to assuage their anger, so I think it’s important that we defeat this bill. And that’s why we’re here.

Ah, yes. The intractable problem of American supermarket violence. Barely an hour goes by in which one American doesn’t kill another after a shopping cart misunderstanding. If only we had evidence from 49 other states to see whether this is a realistic prediction.

Quinn’s intransigence on the question had many of his allies worried. Had the state government failed to pass a law in time, some suggested that Illinois would have effectively been left with a “constitutional carry” regime. As it happens, the new rules are pretty restrictive:

The law as approved by the Legislature permits anyone with a Firearm Owner’s Identification card who has passed a background check and undergone gun-safety training of 16 hours — longest of any state — to obtain a concealed-carry permit for $150.

The Illinois State Police would have six months to set up a system to start accepting applications. Spokeswoman Monique Bond said police expect 300,000 applications in the first year.

This is still a pretty draconian regime, although much better than it was before. There is a lot more work to be done but, on this at least, the United States is heading in the right direction.

UPDATE: Readers are pointing out that some states have extremely restrictive issuing rules (hello, New Jersey!). This is true, of course. But they still have issuing rules. Illinois didn’t.