A number of state representatives have signed on as co-sponsors of a bill that would legalize the concealed carry of firearms in Illinois, the last state in the nation where some form of carry, concealed or open, is not legal.
House Bill 5745 would allow sheriffs in the state’s 102 counties to issue concealed-carry permits, the Illinois Statehouse News has reported. People who want a permit would have to pay a $65 fee and complete firearms training. No one with a criminal record would be given a permit.
This bill would require 71 votes in the House for approval, instead of a simple majority of 60 votes. Because lawmakers decided that a statewide concealed-carry law would preempt local laws, the bill would require three-fifths of the chamber to pass it.
NATO Not the Only Big Event in May
A lot of attention was given to the two major international meetings originally planned for Chicago in May. But little fanfare has been given to the fact that the meetings would have fallen on a three-day Crosstown Classic, with the Chicago White Sox playing the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field.
Before President Obama decided to move the G8 summit to Camp David from Chicago, the meeting of eight leaders of the free world would have coincided with the baseball games scheduled for May 18 and May 19.
The May 20 Cubs-Sox game will be played on the opening day of the two-day NATO conference. On May 21, the second day of the conference, the Cubs will be in Houston and the Sox will have the day off.
Marty Maloney, manager of public relations for the Sox, told Patch, “We are certainly well-aware of the NATO Summits and while we cannot offer any specifics regarding extra preparations, we will continue to work with MLB security as well as local authorities and take all the necessary precautions to ensure a safe and efficient commute.”
The Cubs did not respond to Patch's request for an interview.
Also, no word on whether any of the conference's decisions could be decided by the scores of the games.
Proposed Bill Would Fine Exotic Animal Owners
A few summers ago, in Peoria County, an elderly man walked out his front door and stepped on a 14-foot-long Burmese python, which had escaped from a nearby screened-in front porch, Lauren Malmberg, director of the Peoria County Animal Protection Services, told the Illinois Statehouse News.
The man and python escaped unscathed—the snake’s owner picked it up the next day, for a $50 redemption fee—but it wasn’t an isolated incident, Malmberg said.
“People call and say, 'Oh, so and so has a huge reptile in their basement,' and they want us to go in, raid the house and take them out," she was quoted as saying. “They don't know that it's legal to own them.”
Senate Bill 3264 would require that dangerous animals, such as large snakes, be kept in escape-free enclosures and be registered with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources for a $250 annual fee.
Exotic animal owners decried the bill as onerous and unnecessary.
Scott Smith owns All Animal Expo in Wheaton, and twice a month rents out the DuPage County Fairgrounds, hosting vendors who sell everything from prairie dogs to pythons to iguanas and more rarely lions, tigers and bears.
“This would shut us down,” he told the Illinois Statehouse News.
Voter Registration Down
Voter registration is down in Illinois from both the 2008 and 2010 elections, according to the State Board of Elections numbers reported by the Chicago Tribune.
Recent numbers show 7.28 million registered voters in the state, down from the 7.3 million who were registered for the 2008 election. There were 7.6 million registered voters for the 2010 elections.
Poll Shows Voters Oppose Super PACs
Nearly seven in 10 registered voters would like super PACs, independent political action committees, to be illegal, including more than half who feel that way strongly, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.