Metro-East News

Senate votes to let non-resident military members get concealed-carry licenses

Non-resident members of the military are a step closer to being allowed to possess an Illinois concealed-carry license, thanks to a bill that the state Senate passed on Wednesday.

“This is an important bill to protect the Second Amendment rights of active military members stationed in Illinois,” Sen. Gary Forby, D-Benton, said in a news release.

Non-resident military members would have to fill out an application and provide copies of a valid military identification card or Official Proof of Service Letter, as well as a copy of permanent change-of-station orders that show their transfer to Illinois. The out-of-state license-holders would also have to surrender their licenses when they leave the state. They would expire within five years.

Currently, Illinois allows non-residents to obtain a concealed-carry license only if their home state has similar licensing laws to Illinois. Those states, which were evaluated according to five criteria, are limited to Hawaii, New Mexico, South Carolina and Virginia, according to the Illinois State Police.

“I think it shows support for our military men and women who are stationed here in Illinois,” said Valinda Rowe, the spokeswoman for IllinoisCarry.

The cost for license or a renewal would cost $150, and the fee would be split three ways: $120 to the State Police Firearm Services Fund, $20 to the Mental Health Reporting Fund, and $10 to the State Crime Laboratory Fund.

Sens. Bill Haine, James Clayborne and David Luechtefeld voted yes. Sen. Kyle McCarter, who was added as a bill co-sponsor just before it was passed, did not vote. Only one senator voted against the bill.

“This is a logical extension of our concealed-carry law,” McCarter said. “By the very nature of their service to our country, members of the military are certainly qualified and capable of meeting the responsibilities that go with carrying a concealed firearm.”

The bill will now go to the House.

Casey Bischel: 618-239-2655, @CaseyBischel