Concealed Weapon Debate Hits Springfield

Proponents and opponents of ban to submit testimony

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    NEWSLETTERS

    A thorny issue prepares to take center stage.

    Illnois politicians will take another look at the concealed carry law Tuesday in Springfield.

    Legislators will hear testimony on the argument of whether citizens should have the right to carry a gun on the street.

    Otis McDonald, 77, will be there to present his case. McDonald received a great deal of notoriety when he took his case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, knocking down Mayor Daley's decades-old ban on gun ownership in Chicago. Now he has his sights set on Springfield.

    "If the streets weren't like they were, and if the world, the city wasn't like it is, I would have no desire to carry," McDonald told NBC Chicago.

    McDonald says he will press lawmakers with a simple argument.

    "If I know that that person has a right to conceal/carry, I'm gonna have a second thought about just taking his money out there on the street," he said.

    But opponents argue that it's not that easy. Mark Walsh of the Illinois Coalition against Handgun Violence points to a recent study that showed that since 2007, concealed carry permit owners have been involved in 25 murder suicides, 17 mass shootings and at least 9 shootings of police officers.

    "What happens is if you aren't sure somebody has a gun and you have a gun, you're more likely to pull yours out first," Walsh says. Walsh will be arguing in favor of the ban Tuesday. He believes the concealed carry law would put guns in places where citizens would want them least, like bars, libraries and schools. Illinois and Wisconsin are the last two states where concealed carry is still illegal.