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Lawmakers try to "tweak" concealed-carry

SPRINGFIELD -- Three months before concealed-carry permit applications go out, state lawmakers are trying to make some changes to the law.
SPRINGFIELD -- Three months before concealed-carry permit applications go out, state lawmakers are trying to make some changes to the law. They hope some of those issues might come up as they return to the Capitol this week. WCIA-3's Steve Staeger keeps us Connected to the Capitol.

One change is stricter sentences for gun crimes. One lawmaker wants to ban guns from places serving alcohol. Another wants a stiffer penalty for carrying a gun onto school property. But the man behind the state's concealed-carry law says everyone needs to take a deep breath and hold off.

It's a law which took nearly half a century to pass, and it's taking months to jump start. Now some lawmakers want to make a few changes.

"I think there are some challenges with the bill. We need to make sure that we try to fix those challenges before it's in place."

Colleen Daley, with the Coalition Against Handgun Violence, says her group is supporting a few of the proposals. One is to ban guns anywhere alcohol is served. Another is to change the penalty for the first time anyone is caught carrying a gun near a school from a misdemeanor to a class 4 felony.

"We've seen how many school shootings? One just happened today in Nevada. So, kids are getting shot, people are getting killed in schools. It's a very simple thing to just take that extra step to make sure I'm not walking into an elementary school."

But, the bill's original sponsor, Representative Brandon Phelps (D), disagrees.

"You can't just be a felon on your first offense, especially if you're a law-abiding gun owner and you've never caused any trouble in your past."

In fact, Phelps says it's far too early to even start talking about changing a bill that isn't even in effect.

"I think we should just wait about a year to see how the law is working. It's worked in every other state."

Phelps is proposing a moratorium on concealed-carry changes at least until the first permits start going out in January, but expect to hear some debate about concealed-carry as lawmakers return for the veto session Tuesday.
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