Keefer`s fights to ban guns in restaurants - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Concealed Carry Illinois: Keefer`s fights to ban guns in restaurants

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Key legislators predict the Illinois House will vote Friday to permit Illinoisans to carry concealed, loaded firearms. The proposal would ban them in some places -- including schools, government buildings and mass transit. But, one influential group wants to expand that ban to anyplace serving alcohol.

At the restaurant and bar that bears his name, Glenn Keefer is proud of an anti-drunk driving program that may have saved some lives. If patrons start showing up with guns, he worries about what would happen.

"I can't imagine how hard it would be to tell someone that they can't come in with a gun," Keefer says.

Supporters of gun rights insisted such fears were overblown, noting that the law allows any business to ban firearms by simply posting it on a 4-foot-by-6-foot sign.

"Private owners can, anything that they own, they can do what they want on their own property," says Representative Brandon Phelps.

A concealed carry proposal sponsored by Representative Brandon Phelps won overwhelming approval today from the Illinois House Judiciary Committee.

If the full house and senate concur, for the first time in decades, Illinoisans could apply for a permit to carry loaded firearms. The state police would have to grant it, unless they or local authorities could cite some specific reason to deny it. Guns would be banned from stadiums, casinos, and special events serving liquor, but not from an establishment with a regular liquor license, so long as alcohol sales were less than half its total revenue.

Keefer's Illinois Restaurant Association wants to ban firearms wherever alcoholic beverages are served.

"We're worried about trying to enforce the law ourselves.

The proposal sponsored by Representative Phelps would effectively kill all existing local gun laws in Chicago and more than 109 other communities across the state. For that reason, it needs a super majority of 60% of the votes in the house. Phelps said tonight he expects to get far more than that when the bill is called.

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