By Carly O'Keefe
HARRISBURG, IL (KFVS) - In the November election, voters in ten central and southern Illinois counties supported the creation of a law that would allow some to carry a concealed firearm--but it doesn't appear Election Day translated into the change they were hoping for.
"I probably personally wouldn't carry, but it's nice to have the ability to do that if you feel the need to," said Clifton Lundsford of Marion.
With three bills making their way through the Illinois House of Representatives, and one in the Senate, some gun owners thought this might be the year Illinois joined 48 other states already allowing concealed carry.
"People were looking forward to it," said David Dennison, owner of Strictly Outdoors. "They come to look at guns and pistols and go well if this passes."
But Tuesday, that hope was shot down when the conceal carry bill was reviewed by the Senate Public Health Committee. The committee is made up of six Democrats and four Republicans--all from the Chicagoland area. Tuesday the committee rejected Senate Bill 1976--which comes as a likely fatal shot to conceal carry legislation in the 2009 session.
Calls to the members of the committee for comment were not returned, although an aide for Republican Sen. Chris Lauzen, who co-sponsored the Senate conceal carry legislation, told Heartland News the bill was rejected Tuesday along party lines. The aide said committee Republicans supported the measure, Democrats did not.
"The people in northern Illinois keep voting it down. And there's a lot of them and few of us, so until they accept it, we'll never have it," Dennison said.
The Senate committee's action makes it unlikely that any of the conceal carry bills will become law this year, but southern Illinois supporters won't accept defeat on this issue. They say there's always next year.