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Illinois debates keeping gun owners' identities secret

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Some Democrats who voted no said their opposition came from the inconsistency in state licensing. They contend that firearms licenses are the only licenses in the state that are exempt from state open-records laws.

Another showdown involving gun rights is expected to take place this coming week when lawmakers consider legislation that would allow handgun owners to conceal and carry their weaponry in public. Illinois and Wisconsin are the only two states in the nation that ban legal gun owners from carrying concealed weapons.

The bill would allow county sheriffs to issue conceal carry permits to firearm identification card holders if they undergo an FBI background check and pass classroom training on handguns.

While similar measures have failed in previous attempts in Illinois and Wisconsin, advocates say the political climate has changed following the US Supreme Court’s decision last summer allowing handguns in the home for self-protection.

That ruling forced Chicago to revise its handgun ordinance so it could stand up to scrutiny in federal court. The revised ordinance established a multi-tier process for gun owners to own their weapons in the city, which includes registering their firearms with local authorities and obtaining a special city permit in addition to the state license. Each handgun needs to be reregistered every year.

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