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Gun Owners Ask Courts To Let Them Carry Firearms In Public Right Away

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CHICAGO (STMW) – Despite Tuesday’s dramatic concealed-carry victory at the Statehouse, gun-rights advocates headed back into federal court Wednesday to object to the pace at which the state intends to carry out the new law and to seek immediate authority to begin carrying their firearms in public places, the Chicago Sun-Times reports.

Downstate gun owner Mary Shepard and the Illinois State Rifle Association filed paperwork, seeking authority to begin carrying weapons now rather than the 270-day implementation period they say the state intends to follow.

“The state’s proposed denial of Second Amendment rights for another 270 days is an unacceptable perpetuation of the state’s … infringement of Ms. Shepard’s and Illinois State Rifle Association members’ Second Amendment rights,” they said in a court filing Wednesday.

The plaintiffs went on to argue that “no threat to public safety” would occur if those possessing valid FOID cards were permitted immediately to carry their weapons under terms of the concealed-carry law because those applicants already have been screened.

“Furthermore, plaintiffs are not asking for an unfettered right to carry firearms in public; rather, they are requesting an injunction that would allow them to carry firearms in a manner consistent with the limits imposed by … the Firearms Concealed Carry Act,” the gun-rights advocates stated in their filing.

The Chicago Sun-Times reported Tuesday that the roughly 300,000 anticipated gun owners wanting a concealed-carry license from the state may not be able to get one until March 2014 at the earliest.

That’s because the law that wound up being put on the books Tuesday when the House and Senate overrode Gov. Pat Quinn’s amendatory veto of the concealed-carry legislation granted the Illinois State Police 180 days to make applications available for concealed-carry permits.

The agency has another 90 days after that to process applications for those who provide fingerprints and four months to handle those without. Over all, the State Police estimate the program will cost $25 million to run.

In a separate filing, the plaintiffs also moved Wednesday to block Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s motion to dismiss the original lawsuit that resulted in a December ruling by a federal appeals court in Chicago ordering Illinois to permit concealed carry. Madigan did so on the basis of the General Assembly’s override of Quinn’s amendatory veto on Tuesday.

A top gun-rights advocate said the new legal move, in part, could safeguard the ability for those waging the fight on behalf of gun owners to collect reimbursement from the state for all or part of the legal tab challenging what had been Illinois’ last-in-the-nation prohibition concealed carry. The advocate told the Chicago Sun-Times Wednesday that tab could exceed $500,000.

(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2013. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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