SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (Dec. 29, 2017) – A bill introduced in the Illinois House would expand concealed carry reciprocity in the state and foster an environment more hostile to federal gun control.
Rep. David Reis (R-Olney) introduced House Bill 4183 (HB4183) on Dec. 14. The legislation would expand conceal carry reciprocity by amending the Illinois Firearm Concealed Carry Act to allow for non-resident license applications from any state or territory of the United States that requires firearm training and a background check of an applicant for a license to carry concealed firearms. Under the current law, applicants for a non-resident license must live in a state that has laws related to firearm ownership, possession, and carrying, that are substantially similar to the requirements to obtain a license in Illinois.
Passage of HB4183 would significantly expand the number of non-residents legally allowed to carry a concealed firearm in Illinois.
Expansion of concealed carry reciprocity at the state level provides an alternative to national solutions with accompanying federal control.
A bill to require national concealed carry reciprocity is making its way through Congress. The federal government does not have the constitutional authority to mandate reciprocity, and as we’ve reported, the federal legislation is a trojan horse. A federal reciprocity law would open the door for Congress to impose all kinds of mandates and requirements on state conceal carry programs. It would also likely lead to federal concealed carry standards in the name of “uniformity.” In the worst-case scenario, the entire country would have concealed carry laws modeled after California’s.
State laws liberalizing reciprocity provide an alternative to federal legislation. Those fighting to protect the right to keep and bear arms should focus on state efforts like these in Illinois instead of trying to impose a one-size-fits-all solution controlled by the central government in Washington D.C.
IMPACT ON FEDERAL GUN CONTROL
While expanding reciprocity would not directly affect federal gun control, liberalized concealed carry laws in multiple states subtly undermines federal efforts to regulate guns. As we’ve seen with marijuana and industrial hemp, a federal regulation becomes ineffective when states ignore it and pass laws encouraging the prohibited activity anyway. The federal government lacks the enforcement power necessary to maintain its ban, and people will willingly take on the small risk of federal sanctions if they know the state will not interfere. This increases when the state actively encourages “the market.”
Less restrictive state gun laws will likely have a similar impact on federal gun laws. It will make it that much more difficult for the feds to enforce any future federal gun control, and increase the likelihood that states with few limits will simply refuse to cooperate with federal enforcement efforts.
State actions like the passage of HB4183 would lower barriers for those wanting to the option of defending themselves with firearms and encourages a “gun-friendly” environment that would make federal efforts to limit firearms that much more difficult.
HB4183 has not been assigned to a committee as of publication of this report. Once it receives a committee assignment, it must pass the committee by a majority vote before moving forward in the legislative process.