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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (CBS) — The state of Wisconsin is on the verge of adopting a law that would allow its residents to carry concealed guns, leaving Illinois as the last state in the union with a ban on the practice.
As WBBM Newsradio 780′s David Roe reports, Illinois has resisted passing a concealed carry law of its own for numerous reasons — a strong gun control movement, a history of powerful Chicago mayors who favor gun control, a sizeable cadre of state leaders who oppose expanding access to guns.
LISTEN: Newsradio 780′s David Roe reports
“We must ensure the safety of our neighborhoods, and allowing concealed carry does not advance that goal,” Quinn’s office said in a statement earlier this month. “Our streets need to be safer, and a concealed carry law would put first responders and the public at risk by allowing more weapons – hidden weapons – in public places.”
But as Wisconsin moves to allow the carrying of concealed weapons, Illinois will find itself in the cross hairs of the National Rifle Association and its allies.
One of those allies is state Sen. Brandon Phelps (D-Harrisburg), who said earlier this month that Illinois should get with the program.
“It’s embarrassing. We’re the last one,” Phelps said earlier this month. “Every other state tends to believe this is a right, not a privilege, and they have let their law-abiding citizens do it, and I don’t know why we should be any different.”
Gun rights activists say even in hold-out Illinois, time and political momentum are on their side. They are planning a new push for concealed carry in Illinois this fall or next spring.
Concealed carry legislation failed in the Illinois General Assembly during the spring session last month.
Supporters had agreed to amend the bill to prohibit concealed carry on college campuses, inside government buildings and other public places. Business owners would also have been able to decide whether they want to allow guns in their buildings. But the bill failed 65-52.
The Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.
(TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS Radio and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)