May 31, 2018
It’s not often when Republican Rep. Peter Roskam joins with all the Democrats in the Illinois Congressional delegation and none of his GOP counterparts on a vote.
And with it being gun legislation — one strongly supported by the NRA — it’s even more of an outlier.
But last week, Roskam, of Wheaton, did just that. And he got it right.
Unfortunately, the other suburban GOP congressman in our circulation area, Randy Hultgren of Plano, got it wrong.
The bill in question, which passed the House, is the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act, which makes it easier for gun owners to legally carry concealed weapons across state lines, even if one state has more stringent requirements.
That’s the case in Illinois, which begrudgingly became the last state in the nation to allow concealed carry. In doing so, it requires much more of gun owners — hours of training, background checks and a minimum age of 21 — before they get their permit, than say gun owners in Missouri, which requires no permit and no background check. Nineteen states have no required gun safety training.
It’s clear that Illinois is a loser under this bill and Roskam recognized that.
“While a strong supporter of the Second Amendment, I opposed this legislation because it would allow out-of-state individuals with no license, no permit and no training to carry a concealed weapon in Illinois,” Roskam said in a statement. “(It) would force Illinois to permit visitors from states with incredibly lax or nonexistent concealed carry licensing requirements to legally carry in our communities.”
Given that this bill usurps states’ rights, it’s a mystery that anyone in Illinois would favor it. But that’s how strong the gun lobby is. It’s refreshing to see Roskam buck that pressure for the good of his district and state.
Perhaps he was listening to one of his constituents, Holly Blastic of Naperville, who wrote a letter to the editor as a member of the Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.
“Residents deserve and need to feel safe,” Blastic wrote. “Allowing untrained teens, and even violent criminals to carry loaded guns in our public spaces will further endanger our community.”
The bill now goes to the Senate where we expect our senators, Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth, to lead the charge to defeat this legislation. Especially in the wake of the Las Vegas shooting, a gun bill that endangers public safety is the wrong approach when deciding which gun laws should be passed.