The Illinois House of Representatives recently passed a new bill that would protect the identities of gun owners in Chicago and across the state from being revealed to the public. The Chicago Sun-Times reported the legislation, sponsored by Rep. Richard Morthland, passed the House with votes of 98 to 12 and will move forward to the Senate for further consideration.
Attorney General Lisa Madigan asserted that the gun records listing state residents who own guns and have Firearm Owner Identification cards should be made accessible under Illinois' Freedom of Information Act. Rep. Lou Lang, a Skokie native, said he opposed the bill because it was inconsistent with state open-record laws that allowed the names of other state licensees to be disclosed to the public.
"I'd have voted no if the bill just took out all dentists or all insurance agents or all pawn brokers and set those people aside and said their lists aren't available," said Lang.
However, Morthland contended that there was a more "pressing need to keep this information private."
"It would create a situation where there'd be increased possibility for gun violence in the State of Illinois should this not pass," explained Morthland.
According to My Fox Chicago, Illinois would be following the lead of other states, like Florida, where lawmakers have voted to keep gun owners' records private after newspaper investigations discovered major lapses in firearm permit processes where violent felons were allowed to carry guns. Gun advocates also argued Madigan's ruling would let criminals find guns worth stealing and harm those without firearms.
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