But as a supporter of pending legislation that would give Illinois residents the right to carry concealed weapons, Emery would not complain if some of the workload, as a byproduct of new laws, falls on his department.
Carry and conceal, or CCW, refers to the practice of carrying a handgun or other weapon in public in a concealed manner, either on one’s person or in close proximity.
“There are 48 states that currently have carry and conceal laws in place,” Emery said. “At this point, we can pick and choose what works best for the state of Illinois. You must have strict training certifications and adequate background checks. But at some point, the county sheriff departments would have to have some percentage of control to ensure it works for the benefit of everyone.”
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Wisconsin is the only other state without a carry and conceal law on the books.
Earlier this month, an Illinois House committee pushed through three pieces of gun legislation, sending them to the full House for consideration. If approved, the package of laws would allow gun owners to have a proper, portable gun carrying case in which to transport their weapon. Opponents such as State Rep. Ed Sullivan, R-Mundelein, said the legislation is too vague.
“Judges all over the state would each make their own ruling on what is considered a proper, portable gun carrying case,” he said.
“One of the problems we have always had with proposed carry and conceal legislation is making it specific enough so there is no confusion about interpretation of the law,” said Jared Shoffner, a Dewitt County deputy who is running unopposed in the November election for DeWitt County sheriff. “I would support carry and concealed legislation, but part of the problem is how it is written and interpreted. We want to make sure that any legislation is the right step for law-abiding citizens and doesn’t allow criminals easier access.”
The bill’s sponsor, State Rep. Harry Osterman, D-Chicago, said that won’t happen — that measure would still prevent people with criminal records from owning firearms.
The Illinois Sheriff’s Association has endorsed carry and concealed legislation, even though specifics have yet to be ironed out.
“One of the main sticking points about the legislation is how it affects Cook County,” Emery said. “My thinking is that if that’s the case, then let’s write different legislation for Cook County. It seems to me, it’s that simple.”
Adding to the debate is a case pending before the U.S. Supreme Court on a challenge to Chicago’s existing ban on handguns. The court is expected to rule by late June. Read More
We also recommend The Gun Digest book of Concealed Carry by Massad Ayoob.