CHICAGO (CBS) – Illinois is inching closer to a law that would allow gun owners legally to carry a concealed firearm.
So what’s it like to head out in your street clothes carrying a concealed weapon?
CBS 2’s Mike Parker found former Chicagoan John Matuska, who moved to Indiana from Chicago 10 years ago. He said he moved to a state where concealed carry is legal because he feels safer legally carrying a handgun.
“I’m ready for a ride in the country, and I have my protection,” Matuska said. “I feel safe in Texas, or Florida. I feel safe in any of the carry states.”
But when he is in the Chicago area, Matuska says he feels unsafe.
“My biggest problem would be, say, having a car break down in an undesirable area where I would have absolutely no way of protecting myself,” Matuska said.
Matuska showed how he can conceal weapons wearing only a leather vest.
“I have a Glock here, which is in a special holster that somebody can’t just grab,” Matuska said. “This one has a special release and then the firearm comes out.”
Matuska says he has never pulled a gun out, and has never felt threatened enough to do it.
But the prospect of a similar law in Illinois sends chills through the leader of the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence. Patrick Thompson says he is worried that an Old West-style environment could be the result.
“I think it creates an environment where it potentially could; where you have people carrying concealed weapons; having the ability to carry them and have easy access to them,” Thompson said.
Gun rights supporters plan to descend on Springfield later Thursday to put pressure on lawmakers to vote yes on the proposed concealed carry law in Illinois.
But there will be just as much noise from gun control advocates, who will also be there.
On Tuesday, the concealed carry law passed the state House Agriculture Committee by a vote of 12-2. But the committee is dominated by downstate pro-gun rights lawmakers, and the bill must pass the full state General Assembly.
Illinois and Wisconsin are the only states left without some type of law allowing gun owners to carry weapons away from their homes.
CBS 2 political producer Ed Marshall contributed to this story.