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Illinois passes bill to allow concealed firearms; last U.S. state to have such a ban

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Nov. 1, 2012: A Oklahoma resident wears an unconcealed side arm at Beverly's Pancake House in Oklahoma City, Okla., a state that passed a concealed-carry law last year. (Reuters)

The Illinois legislature agreed Friday to allow people to carry concealed guns, which if signed into law would make the state the last in the country to allow the public possession of concealed firearms.

The compromise plan by the House and Senate followed a federal appeals ruling that stated Illinois' concealed carry ban is unconstitutional and that the state must change it by June 9.

Gov. Pat Quinn, a Democrat, has not said whether he will sign the legislation into law. However, the bill has enough votes in the legislature to override a gubernatorial veto.

All 50 states allow residents in some form to carry a weapon outside their home.

The appeals court ruling stated the ban violated the U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment right to bear arms.

The legislation hit a roadblock last week when the House approved a bill that in part would have overturned Chicago's ban on assault weapons. However, the chamber passed a revised bill Friday that allows Chicago to keep the assault-weapons ban but requires it to allow residents to carry concealed weapon.

“Lawmakers seeking to protect the basic right to self defense and lawmakers seeking to build a hedge against gun violence in their neighborhoods were forced to develop a plan that benefits the interests of the entire state,” Senate President John J. Cullerton, a Democrat, said Friday after his chamber passed the House version of the bill. “As with all controversial pieces of legislation, no one is fully satisfied with the solution. … Failure to pass this bill would result in unregulated and unsafe communities across the state.”

Valinda Rowe, of the group Illinois Carry, told FoxNews.com on Saturday she was “very excited” about the bill’s passage.

“Illinois will join the rest of the country,” she said. “It’s not a perfect law but a great foundation to build on.”

Rowe said the best parts of the legislation is that the State Police must issue a permit to anybody who fulfills the requirement that includes paying the $150 registration fee and taking 16 hours of training, which keeps officials from deciding whether an applicant meets a special need for a concealed weapons.

She also praised lawmakers for crafting a bill that is uniformed across the state, which will keep Chicago or other jurisdictions from “carving out” their own laws.

However, Rowe was disappointed that the law doesn't allow residents to carry a loaded firearm on public transportation and that the fees might be cost prohibitive for people in some of the state’s poorest neighborhoods, where high crime is often a problem.

This story is based in part on wire service reports.