Weeks after Illinois became the last state to pass a concealed carry law, Sen. Kwame Raoul, D-Chicago, and fellow gun control advocates unpacked the controversial bill for Evanston residents Sunday afternoon.

Raoul, along with the executive director of the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence, Colleen Daley and attending physician in the Division of Child Protective Services, Marjorie Fujara spoke as part of a panel at the Levy Senior Center at an event organized by Sen. Daniel Biss, D-Evanston.

Biss said he’d received some criticism for his choice of speakers – all favor more restrictive gun control measures than those included in the final bill – but said his aim was to foster informative discussion, not heated debate.

Raoul came to the issue – which was accelerated by a federal appeals court ruling which mandated Illinois pass a concealed carry law by July 9 – as a Hyde Park resident who had experienced the affects of gun violence in his own neighborhood.

The lakefront senator, who negotiated on the issue on behalf of gun control advocates, tried to pass his own concealed carry bill but ultimately decided not to put it up for a vote after learning of waning support among fellow legislators.  He described the entire political negotiation as “very, very difficult.”

Though Raoul was not able to achieve all he wanted to accomplish in the bill, he said the final piece of legislation was an “imperfect product in the view of folks on both sides [of this issue].”

Under the final bill, Raoul said license holders are not allowed to carry a concealed weapon in schools, parks, festivals that require a license from a city and on private property. Churches and other places of worship, however, are not included.

When asked by an audience member, Raoul said he’d support legislation to include places of worship, but doubted it would pass. Daley, however, encouraged audience members concerned about the issue to contact their local churches and legislators, convinced that passage of such an amendment was possible. 

One area of disappointment for Raoul was the way the bill handled alcohol and guns.

“I don’t think guns and alcohol mix,” he said. Under the final bill, guns are not allowed in taverns or bars, but they are not prohibited in restaurants that serve mostly food – even if alcohol is on the menu.

Daley said her organization did not support the final bill.

“We don’t feel as thought it will keep everyone as safe as we wanted,” she said.

But included in the bill are two restrictive measures Daley supported: universal background checks for all gun purchases and a requirement to report a lost or stolen firearm within 72 hours.

These measures, she said, “will keep people safe.”

Fujara, another gun control advocate, complained of a dearth of research on unintentional shooting deaths in situations where an individual held a concealed carry license. She said current legislation barring this type of research was fueled by the National Rifle Association’s efforts to “normalize” openly carrying guns in public. 

Audience members were also invited to pose their questions to the panel.

One person expressed concern about liability, for example, what if someone is shot inside a business that allows concealed carry?

Biss said an amendment to require those with a concealed carry permit to also have liability insurance failed to pass. According to Raoul, under the current bill, common law would preside in such an instance.

What if you have a conceal carry license from another state, does it apply in Illinois?

Biss said a permit from another state would not apply in Illinois, but Raoul added that those license holders just passing through the state are offered protection from persecution.

But can someone obtain a license for concealed carry of an assault weapon?

Both Raoul and Daley said there is a certain degree of ambiguity when it comes to the definition of an assault weapon. Daley said the bill dictates that the weapon must be carried on someone’s person and must also be concealed, meaning it would be unlikely someone would be able to carry an automatic rifle with 100 rounds and still follow the law. Additionally, assault weapons are already banned in Cook County.

Though the bill has passed to the dismay of some advocates on both sides of the issue, future changes to the law are still possible.

“The gun policy debate hasn’t ended in state of Illinois,” Raoul said. “It goes forward.”

Join the Conversation


  1. Concealed carry of an assault weapon

    I was going to suggest ignoring the fact that most people who worry about "assault weapons" could not tell you what makes a firearm an "assault" compared to a "regular" weapon, but the question itself perfectly portrays the unknowing mindset of people on that side of the issue.

  2. Followup on Tango’s comment

    It is also worth noting that most people's idea of an "assault weapon" is a rifle of some sort. The new IL concealed carry law only allows for the carry of handguns, NOT rifles, NOT shotguns and CERTAINLY NOT machine guns, which are already banned outright in this state.

  3. Kwame Raoul, Just stop it! You’re done here!

    At this point in time, does it really matter what Raoul thinks? Answer: NO!

    Illinois, finally has a concealed carry bill on the books.  If it were up to Raoul, Chicago would have become a free fire zone for thieves and robbers and an impossible situation for the law abiding. With the concealed carry bill, the law abiding will have a change to apply some deterrence, where none existed.

    Contrary to what Raoul may believe, Illinoisans are capable of managing the responsibility if concealed carry.  Raoul’s position here is insulting to citizens who choose to exercise this right. But, his position no longer matters.  Besides, not everyone will be able to afford the license, thanks to Illinois lawmakers and the fees and unprecedented training requirements they have assigned. Still, others will simply choose not to apply for the license.

    So, don’t worry Raoul, you will get your wish. Many will remain at the mercy of street criminals. Thank God, some of us will not be.

  4. The Stupid… It Hurts

    "But can someone obtain a license for concealed carry of an assault weapon?"

    Didn't Raoul and Daley even READ the provisions of the new Concealed (HANDGUN) Carry law? Does the law of hyperbole allow concealed carry of a red herring?

    "But included in the bill are two restrictive measures Daley supported: universal background checks for all gun purchases…"

    Universal Background Checks (gun registration) was NOT included… NOT supported by the Illinois legislature… NOT wanted by the vast majority of Illinois citizens. Gov. Quinn tried to force it through, but was defeated.

    Alright… before ANYONE can purchase a firearm in Illinois, the most restrictive state in the U.S., they must possess an Illinois FOID card… which proves they've already been inspected, investigated and probed by the Illinois State Police.

    Then… when a legal FOID holder actually buys a firearm, they cannot take possession until their information goes through the FBI's National Instant Check System, and gets approved.

    Finally… they must still jump through all the stringent hoops required by the new law before thay can obtain a permit to legally carry a handgun.

    So will you just stop freaking out about this already?

    1. Raoul and Daly will not be

      Raoul and Daly will not be happy till the concealed carry law is so restrictive, it will be all but impossible to obtain a permit or if you can get one, there will be such a long list of places you can't carry, you might as well leave your weapon at home. In the guise of "keeping citizens safe" he and his ilk only create more victims. If the people of Illinois are not allowed to carry, let's take away his armed body guards, then we'll see how he truly feels. Like most anti gun politicians, it's "Safety for me, but not for thee"

  5. Handguns in church

    Anyone that has any ideas about banning a gun in a church.  Please go to YouTube and look at the Mary Shepard Illinois Carry video.  You will change your thoughts.

  6. Guns in church

    Go to YouTube and watch the video titled Mary Shepard Illinois Carry.  Then you will be able to make an informed decision.

  7. It astounds me…
    It astounds me how stupid some people can be. Such a reactive society.

    “Mass shooting in a church?! Let’s make guns illegal in churches! That’ll stop ’em! Wait, what? Guns were ALREADY illegal in churches? They were illegal EVERYWHERE? By golly, let’s make them legal only in places where there haven’t been mass shootings. That’ll solve all of our violence problems.”

  8. “Persecution” indeed

    "Biss said a permit from another state would not apply in Illinois, but Raoul added that those license holders just passing through the state are offered protection from persecution"

    Probably not a typo.

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