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Monday, June 1, 2015

Illinois scores common-sense legislation victory for gun owners with disabilities

reported by the Quincy Journal, by Jim Dewey | June 1, 2015

The Illinois Senate approved legislation, Senate Bill 836, sponsored by State Senator John Sullivan (D-Rushville) that updates the FOID and concealed-carry acts.

The legislation stemmed from the case of Brent Nichols, a Quincy native and lifelong hunter whose FOID card was revoked by the state after 13 years. Nichols has a mild intellectual disability, and the 2013 law that allowed concealed carry in Illinois prevented people with mild disabilities who seek services from the state from possessing or using firearms.

Nichols and his family brought this issue to the attention of Sullivan, who introduced and championed the legislation.

“If someone is competent and qualified to safely use a firearm while hunting, government shouldn’t take away that right. This balances our Second Amendment rights with public safety and ensures safe, responsible use of guns,” Sullivan said.

Sullivan crafted the proposal with input from the Illinois State Police, representatives from the medical community, gun rights groups and advocates for individuals with developmental and intellectual disabilities.

It allows people with mild disabilities to appeal state police decisions to revoke or deny a FOID.

The proposal—Senate Bill 836—updates how developmental disabilities are described under the law to match current medical definitions. It also updates how and when medical professionals must notify the state of someone meeting these criteria.

In addition to the FOID updates, the legislation also clarifies rules governing concealed carry in Illinois.

“Additionally, while we were updating firearm rules, we also took the opportunity to make some common-sense updates to the concealed carry and FOID acts,” Sullivan said.

These updates include:

  • Allowing a concealed-carry license to be used in place of a FOID card when purchasing firearms or ammunition.
  • Clarifying the actions of emergency service personnel when securing a firearm during emergencies.
  • Allowing a concealed-carry licensee to exit a vehicle in a prohibited parking lot to secure his or her firearm in the trunk.
  • Allowing non-Illinois residents to purchase firearms at the Sparta World Shooting Complex in Sparta, Ill.
The proposal passed the Senate and house with bipartisan support, and it now goes to the governor for approval.

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