SPRINGFIELD, Ill. —
The debate has divided Chicago, with strict gun laws, from the rest of the state. Many state legislatures are split by urban and rural interests. In Illinois, with about 380 miles (611 kilometers) separating its southern tip from an urban center with a history of the nation's toughest gun laws, those fractures are even more pronounced.
While gun-control advocates — most in urban areas — have pushed for stronger restrictions after the Newtown, Conn., school shooting that left 26 students and adults dead, opponents from rural and suburban areas have countered with claims that such atrocities could be eliminated or reduced if more citizens were armed.
The U.S. Supreme Court in 2008 ruled that the Second Amendment confers an individual right to keep and bear arms, striking down a handgun ban in the District of Columbia by a 5-4 vote. Two years later, the high court invalidated a Chicago ordinance that barred guns even within the home.