Jacksonville’s state senator wants to introduce an amendment to the Illinois Constitution that includes the right to carry firearms.
Sam McCann, who has been active on gun-related issues of late, says supporters of gun rights feel their Second Amendment rights are being denied. He says this would give voters more of a voice on the matter.
“It actually gets to go to the people, and not just the politicians. We’re still working on the language, but it would essentially say among other things that the right to keep and bear arms is a fundamental right- not a privilege- to Illinoisans, and that it would require the highest standard of review by the courts,” says McCann.
“The governor couldn’t wake up one day and, with a stroke of the pen, issue an executive order banning certain firearms or changing the rules mid-stream. Even the General Assembly couldn’t go into session and do it; it would actually be an amendment to the Constitution that would require the voters’ involvement. And to change it, it would require voter involvement," he adds.
The amendment would have to pass by three-fifths majority in both the House and Senate, then be passed by three-fifths of a majority of voters.
The state constitution already mentions firearm ownership, stating: “Subject only to the police power, the right of the individual citizen to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”
Illinois is the only state in America without some sort of allowance of conceal-carry. McCann says he’s not abandoning legislation to legalize it, as required by a recent decision by the 7th U.S. Circuit Court. He says he’s got several bills ready to go.
McCann says this amendment should put to rest the argument held on guns between Chicago-area politicians and downstate legislators.
“Some politicians, especially up north, say this state isn’t necessarily as pro-gun as some people say it is, that the [pro-gun and pro second amendment lobbies are] just very vocal,” he says. “It would go to the ballot box, and people state-wide of this great state would be able to voice their opinion as to whether the Second Amendment is important to them.”
McCann says this isn’t a response to President Obama’s recent proposal on regulating so-called assault weapons, but he is planning on introducing separate legislation dealing with any new federal firearms bans.
Springfield legislators have about five more months until they have to pass a conceal-carry law.