Downstate Democrats Support Concealed Carry

Andy Brownfield

 Lobbying their legislators in support of a concealed carry law in Illinois, hundreds of Illinois gun owners marched yesterday at the state capitol in Springfield as a part of Illinois Gun Owners Lobby Day (IGOLD). Illinois is one of two states in the country that does not allow concealed carry. Past attempts to pass a law have stalled.

Senate Bill 82, the Family and Personal Protection Act sponsored by State Senator Gary Forby (D - Benton), would legalize concealed carry in Illinois. The bill creates procedures by which county sheriffs could issue concealed carry permits to persons at least 21 years old with no record of felonies, violence, mental illness, or substance abuse. Applicants would also be required to complete specific trainings, including classroom instruction and live firing exercises.  

State Senator John Sullivan (D - Rushville), Chairman of the Senate Democratic Downstate Caucus and co-sponsor of SB 82, noted the support of several other members of the downstate caucus, including Senator Mike Frerichs (D - Champaign), Senator William Haine (D - Alton), Senator Mike Jacobs (D - Moline), and Senator Dave Koehler (D - Peoria).

Senator Sullivan has created an online petition where citizens can show their support for concealed carry in Illinois. To sign, please visit

"I agree with many people in my district that it's time to allow responsible gun owners the right to conceal and carry in Illinois," said Sullivan. "I invite everyone to stand with me by signing the petition on my website."

In addition to Senator Sullivan, the following senators issued statements in support of SB 82 and concealed carry in Illinois:

Senator Gary Forby (D - Benton): "Over 290 million people in 48 other states can responsibly exercise their right to carry concealed weapons," said Forby. "It's outrageous that five million people that don't trust their law-abiding neighbors enough are blocking this right from seven and a half million other citizens."

Senator William Haine (D - Alton):  "It is time that Illinois joins 48 other states in the Union to allow responsible citizens to exercise their Second Amendment rights and protect themselves and their families," Haine stated. "This bill assures that only well-trained, responsible citizens are allowed to carry their firearms in a concealed capacity."

Senator Dave Koehler (D - Peoria):  "Many, many people in my district have made it clear that they support legalizing conceal and carry," Koehler said.  "I stand with them and urge them to sign Senator Sullivan's petition.  We need to show the other senators in Springfield how strongly the people of Central and Southern Illinois feel about this issue."