Military personnel who are stationed in Illinois but are not Illinois residents could get permits to carry concealed firearms in the state under new legislation filed by state Rep. Charlie Meier.
Meier, an Okawville Republican, said the legislation is a response to the shooting of military recruiters in Tennessee on July 16.
“Our military personnel should not be sitting ducks while serving our country,” Meier said. “My bill will allow the men and women serving our country to protect themselves and the public if any life is threatened. Giving our active-duty members of the Armed Forces the option to conceal and carry a firearm will strengthen our national security.”
Under current Illinois law, residents from most other states aren’t allowed to get concealed-carry permits in Illinois, according to Meier. Also, individuals from other states are not allowed to use carry-concealed permits issued by their home states to carry a concealed gun in Illinois.
Military personnel move frequently as their assignments change, Meier said.
“People move in and out of Scott Air Force Base very quickly. I’ve had a lot of our military people talk to me about this,” Meier said. “I think they should have the right.”
The legislation, House Bill 4258, was filed Tuesday and already has more than 35 co-sponsors.
“Our military people at these bases, who are trained to defend us and put their lives on the line every day, cannot carry a concealed weapon in Illinois,” Meier said. “The people who are defending us, I think they should have a right to defend themselves.”
Meier said if the bill becomes law, military personnel still would have to apply for and receive a concealed-carry permit before being allowed to carry a concealed gun in public.
Requirements for a concealed-carry permit in Illinois include completion of a 16-hour course and a $300 fee.