In most parts of the country, formal endorsement on the part of the state Republican Party of the right to carry a defensive firearm would hardly be cause for celebration--it's something one would expect. This is Illinois, though, where the Republican Party sends statist, gun banning dolts like Mark Kirk to Washington. In other words, standards are quite a lot lower here. That's why we're forced to count as progress even as backhanded an endorsement of self-defense (more on that in a minute) as this (pdf file).
Specifically, we endorse:It starts off pretty badly, obviously, with an endorsement of the continuation of the egregious FOID program. That was almost enough to make me stop reading, right from the beginning.
Continued use of the Firearm Owners Identification system and use of criminal and mental background checks by licensed firearms dealers;
State pre-emption of local ordinances which impede the right of law-abiding citizens to keep and bear arms (see the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution);
We strongly endorse and support the 2nd Amendment to the Bill of Rights to the U. S. Constitution. We believe every citizen (American) has the right to keep and bear arms. No state city or local law should be allowed to infringe upon this right;
Enactment of “Concealed Carry” legislation offering permits to properly trained, law-abiding citizens to bear concealed weapons for personal protection
It gets better, though. Illinois is one of the few states without state preemption of firearms laws, and as a result, places like Chicago (and to a lesser extent, all of Cook County) are subject to gun laws even more draconian than those imposed on the rest of the state. It's therefore encouraging to see the state GOP finally going on record as being committed to changing that.
The claim to "strongly endorse and support the 2nd Amendment . . . " is hard to take very seriously, considering the first point of endorsement, but this being Illinois, I doubt they even see the paradox.
Then, the (sort of) big one--concealed carry. Not all that long ago, bringing concealed carry to Illinois was what I lived and breathed for. Over time, I have come to realize that getting the government to license a fundamental, human right is hardly the enormous victory I once thought it would be. Still, as I keep saying, this is Illinois, where merely slowing down the pace of new infringements is something of a victory.
The Illinois GOP is in tatters, with Democratic majorities in both legislative houses and in the governor's mansion (if he actually lived there, but that's another story), so their endorsement isn't exactly likely to carry the day, but perhaps this means that Republicans--Illinois Republicans--are finally starting to take gun rights seriously. This could be good for both gun rights and the Republican Party.