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Concealed carry laws are already in place in 49 states, and now Illinois is joining their ranks. Illinois lawmakers on Tuesday adopted a law that will allow residents to carry concealed guns.
The legislature actually passed the concealed carry law more than a month ago, but Gov. Pat Quinn vetoed it and suggested particular changes. However, both chambers of the state legislature voted to override the governor's veto.
With the law now on the books, Illinois is the last state in the nation to permit some form of public gun possession, USA Today reports.
Court Ruling Triggers Concealed Carry Law
Courts in other states have ruled that the Constitution's Second Amendment, which sets out the right to bear arms, does not create a fundamental right to carry a concealed weapon in public.
But in this case, the Illinois legislature acted only after the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in December that the state's prohibition on concealed carry violated the Second Amendment, according to The Associated Press.
The 7th Circuit gave Illinois until July 9 to enact a new law, and later extended that deadlne by a month.
The new law says that Illinois state police "shall issue" a permit to carry concealed guns to any applicant who:
Permits, of course, don't give gun owners free reign to carry their concealed guns anywhere. Even with a permit, some places are off-limits.
Illinois' Concealed Carry Restrictions
At the urging of politicians repulsed by gun violence (over the Fourth of July weekend, for example, Chicago shootings left 10 dead and 55 wounded, CBS News reports), the Illinois bill prohibits guns in a long list of places, including bars, schools, buses and trains, libraries, parks, and hospitals.
Permit owners also can't carry their concealed guns onto U.S. government property, where guns are prohibited by federal law.
The law does, however, allow diners to carry weapons into restaurants and other establishments where liquor comprises no more than 50 percent of gross sales. This was a sore spot of compromise for some lawmakers.
After the Illinois legislature acted, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel called a special City Council meeting for July 17 to discuss strengthening the city's existing assault weapons ban. He called the meeting because the new concealed carry law gives cities and towns a window of only 10 days to pass separate laws.
The Illinois State Police will have six months to set up a system to start accepting applications for concealed carry licenses. The agency expects about 300,000 applications in the first year, reports the AP.