News from President Toni Preckwinkle

Toni Preckwinkle’s Testimony on Illinois’ Proposed Conceal Carry Law

My name is Toni Preckwinkle.  I am President of the Cook County Board of Commissioners.  Chairman Nekritz, Vice-Chairman Williams and Minority Spokesman Reboletti — I appreciate the opportunity to testify before your committee this morning.

I was a school teacher on the south side of Chicago and a Board Member of the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence.  I have seen firsthand what gun violence does to families — what it has done to neighborhoods throughout Cook County — and what it has done to too many patients who come through the Emergency Room at Stroger Hospital for treatment.

To watch Toni’s testimony, fast-forward to 36:04

This committee has an exceptionally important job to accomplish in the next few months — to address the conceal and carry issue in a manner that is responsible for all parts of our state.   Consequently, I respectfully ask you to consider the following factors as you continue to deliberate this issue:

Please consider the findings in the April, 2012 Management Audit of the State Police’s Administration of the Firearm Owner’s Identification Act.  This audit contained many findings, including the fact that the current FOID card application fee does not fully pay for the cost of the FOID card program — in particular the costs of a comprehensive background check.

If one applies for a FOID card, he or she should pay an application fee that covers the total cost of the card. And the fee for a FOID card should be revisited yearly to account for increased costs of background checks and to ensure that no other line-item in our state budget is reduced to pay for the additional cost associated with FOID card program administration.

Every time a person with valid FOID card seeks to purchase or transfer a weapon to another individual, a comprehensive background check should be performed on the person seeking to own that weapon.

We must ensure that our laws prohibit those with mental illness and serious criminal convictions from purchasing or possessing a weapon. There also should be an updated, universal database accessible to law enforcement personnel across the state of Illinois.  Our sheriffs and police departments deserve a system that allows them to easily verify who is qualified under the law to carry a firearm.

Any legislative proposal must contain the provision that if your gun is lost or stolen the owner of record has the legal responsibility to report that loss or theft within a prescribed period of time to both state and local law enforcement.

And a stringent requirement that mandates a comprehensive training and safety program that is certified or approved by both the Illinois State Police and the sheriff of the county in which the applicant lives should be a part of any bill that is considered.

Those on both sides of the conceal and carry debate should support all five of these suggestions.  At the most basic level, these suggestions say you should pay for a background check for the privilege of owning a firearm; if you lose your weapon or it is stolen — you should be required to notify law enforcement; and you should be highly trained to handle a weapon.

The topic of conceal and carry is one that garners strong emotions and debate.  I believe if we can agree on anything today, it is that the state of Illinois is exceptionally diverse. While some solutions to an issue may work in one area of our state — they may not be practical in another.  It is from that premise that I offer suggestions on this issue.

While I acknowledge the ruling of the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals on conceal and carry, and, with full disclosure, I hope the Attorney General’s motion for rehearing before the entire Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals is granted — I ask you to consider the following when crafting legislation:

Elementary, secondary and higher education buildings should be gun-free zones.  Instead of simply being a location where our children and young adults go to learn — schools are a place where many of our children go to eat their only meals of the day, receive basic health care, and spend time after school because they have working parents or guardians.  If any place within our communities should be free of weapons — it is our schools.

Government owned and operated buildings should be gun-free zones. Weapons should not be allowed at city council, school board or county board meetings.  They should not be allowed where judicial proceedings are being held, where custody determinations are made, or near criminal proceedings.

One should not be allowed to possess a weapon in a hospital or nursing home;

Houses of worship should be gun-free zones;

Business owners and managers should also be allowed to prohibit firearm possession within their establishments by appropriately notifying patrons; and

All home rule units of local government should maintain the ability to determine other appropriate firearm restrictions consistent with the law.

I could go on, but respecting the amount of time the committee will meet today, I will stop there.  I appreciate the opportunity to testify before this committee and I am happy to answer any questions you may have for me.

3 Responses

  1. Jeremy

    It a responsible citizens’ RIGHT to own and carry a firearm, NOT A PRIVLAGE, as stated. Other citizens – DO NOT TAKE IT LIGHTLY THAT IT IS BELIEVED THAT IT IS ONLY YOUR PRIVLAGE!

    Also a responsible carrying citizen does not take the “innocence” out school children, it makes them safer. (Responsible meaning an individual takes the time to train, and is confident with their firearm.)

  2. John

    I agree fees should be enough to cover costs. But you want a background check on someone that ALREADY has a FOID? If I sell only to someone with a FOID, why should I have to wait to check them again? The state should have already done that.

    Schools as Gun Free Zones!?? Need to explain more on this. I do not agree with that, too many nuts want to go to these Gun Free Zones to kill as many innocent people as they can. I would hope that at least some teachers get a CC, but failing that, at least schools won’t be advertised as a great place to kill kids.
    (BUT if your talking about students, I agree they need to be older to get a CC license.)
    Until they get to college anyway, then they are buying a education and should be allowed protection.

    Public buildings should be decided by the LOCAL PUBLIC, not the state. As should all private businesses & homes be decided by their owners.

    I have to say that I was surprised by most of what you propose, most seemed reasonable. Although I think this is just a cure for a symptom, not a cure for the disease.

    Ok you want some of my solutions?

    Get rid of “Gun Free Zones” where only the law abiding are unarmed.

    Just about all of these shooters in the news have just been nut cases. It is ALREADY illegal for them to have weapons.
    We just need a better data base to screen these mentally ill people out, since obviously they won’t volunteer to do it. (Not a national registration, just a database for the mentally ill.)

    But some problems, like guns & drugs, are related. Take Chicago’s murder rate, the biggest percentage of those are gang/drug related.

    Anyone remember prohibition?

    Why did they legalize booze again after a 13 year ban on it? Was it NOW found to be healthy for people?
    Of course not, they got rid of prohibition because of all the gangs, murders, corruption, & cost of imprisoning people for it.

    Ok, now how do you suppose we could get rid of our gang, murder, corruption, & ever increasing prison costs? (We have the HIGHEST rate of incarceration in the WHOLE WORLD! State’s are going broke trying to imprison all these people.)

    Sure drugs destroy lives, but then so do 10 years in jail. Is one better than the other?

    Legalize all drugs, and get these freaks off the worst of them, so they aren’t out killing innocent people and each other in turf wars. (I am NOT saying to give all these drugs out, or even make them available…I’m saying REGULATE them.)

    Once the revenue from these drugs is gone, so is the incentive for all these gang killings, and robbery’s where innocent people are killed.
    Let US use the revenue from them to try to rehabilitate users, like they have done with cigarettes & alcohol.

  3. Vincent L Gomez

    With all due respect, Ms Preckwinkle, the constitution clearly states that “the RIGHT of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” This is the problem with leftist thinking: Everything in their minds is a privilege to be granted by or reserved to the government.

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