By Nate Gnau
Guns were on the mind of everyone in attendance at the Alton-Wood River Sportsman’s Club Friday night, which hosted a town hall meeting about House Bill 148, which would effectively make carrying a concealed firearm for self-protection legal.
The event, which hosted 200 people in the building including Senator Bill Haine(D), Representative Dan Beiser(D), and Alton Police Chief David Hayes, was meant to inform and persuade citizens to rally behind the bill and raise support. Sen. Haine & Rep. Beiser are in support of the bill.
There was one bit of very vocal opposition to the bill however. Rick Loftis of Cottage Hills said about the bill, that it is quote “a complete slap in the face” to law enforcement personnel & security guards, because police & guards wouldn’t know if they should approach a person with caution.
If passed, HB148 would allow citizens to pay a fee of $100, participate in a handgun training seminar, and pass a range examination. The range examination would consist of firing 30 rounds; 20 at seven feet, 10 at 10 feet. The citizen will still have to possess a Firearm Owner Identification card, otherwise known as a FOID card. Currently, Illinois is one of only two states in the union that do not have some sort of concealed carry legislation. Rep. Beiser said that the bill had 68 votes, and was 4 away from overriding a possible gubernatorial veto. Gov. Pat Quinn had said that he would unconditionally veto the bill, though last week he said that he would have an open mind.