Expanding concealed carry law priority for gun backers

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Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner.

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) _ Firearm proponents are hopeful Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner will expand the state’s concealed carry law to cover places such as hospitals, churches and bars.

Gun owners from across the state flooded the Illinois Capitol on Wednesday for an annual rally. Many spoke with lawmakers from their home districts about legislation to expand gun rights.

Gun control activists say firearm groups want the state’s gun laws watered down. They believe Illinois could follow other states that don’t require permits or background checks to carry handguns.

The Republican governor declined to comment specifically on pending concealed carry legislation. Rauner spokeswoman Catherine Kelly said he “will carefully evaluate all proposals” for changes to gun laws.

Illinois is the last state to have passed a concealed carry law.