SPRINGFIELD – Illinois State Senator Andy Manar (D–Bunker Hill) joined other freshman members on Wednesday for the second meeting of Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon’s Firearms Working Group.  

As one of only two members who represent districts in the southern portion of the state, Manar looks forward to being a voice for the region in the discussions.

“I think we all recognize that there is a geographical divide when it comes to discussing the rights of gun owners in Illinois,” Manar said. “I’m glad that we have members in the group from different areas of the state and I look forward to representing central and southern Illinois residents in these meetings.”

The group spoke with representatives from opposite sides of the concealed carry debate.

Richard Pearson, executive director of Illinois State Rifle Association and Todd Vandermyde, lobbyist for National Rifle Association, spoke about concealed carry and the proposals currently being discussed.

Colleen Daley, executive director of Illinois Coalition Against Handgun Violence and Tom Vanden Berk, board member with Brady Campaign/Million Mom March, acknowledged the General Assembly’s looming deadline to craft concealed-carry legislation but advocated for sensible gun control measures.

Manar expects that the General Assembly will pass a concealed carry bill before the deadline.

“It is my hope and expectation that the General Assembly will pass concealed carry legislation for law-abiding citizens,” Manar said.

The working group is scheduled to meet again next week.

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