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The number of people licensed to own guns in Illinois jumped by more than 78,500 last year, possibly fueled by a belief the state was poised to legalize the concealed carry of weapons.

According to figures provided by the Illinois State Police, nearly 1.4 million people had firearm owner’s identification cards as of Jan. 1, compared to slightly more than 1.3 million the year before.

“That is a pretty big increase,” said Mark Walsh, campaign director of the Illinois Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.

The 6.1 percent increase in FOID cards comes as Illinois continues to be a focal point among gun rights advocates as the lone state in the nation that does not allow people to carry concealed weapons in public.

Source: Kurt Erickson for Pantagraph.com.

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Image: shavedlongcock.blogspot.com The number of people licensed to own guns in Illinois jumped by more…