SPRINGFIELD – Illinois lawmakers are considering whether to waive the concealed carry license fee for qualified veterans.
The legislation, sponsored by state Rep. Mike Murphy, a Republican from Springfield, would eliminate the fee for veterans who were honorably discharged and had earned a marksmanship badge.
Jason Hoffman, with the Illinois Veterans of Foreign Wars, said the proposal would allow people with plenty of experience using firearms to protect themselves when they come home.
“What you have with veterans is people who have gone through very intense training on the maintenance, the handling, the operation of such a tool,” Hoffman said. “I think you’re putting very responsible owners out there, and I think the waiving of this fee supports that.”
The current license fee for concealed carry is $150, though some Democrats say reducing the fee would be better than wiping it out altogether.
State Rep. Kathleen Willis, a Democrat from Addison who generally favors stronger gun control laws, said she’s not sure a full waiver is the best move. That said, she said she is open to working on the idea.
“Right now, part of the thing we’re dealing with is the state police don’t have enough funds to do the work that we’re already asking them to do,” Willis said. “So I’d be very hesitant to say, ‘let’s waive the fee totally’ or even waive all of the requirements behind concealed carry, so I wanna look at that a little bit closer also.”
Mike Smith is a graduate Public Affairs Reporting intern for the spring 2020 legislative session at NPR Illinois.