By Emily Gray Brosious | Originally published at Gapers Block | Jul. 3, 2013
At a press conference Tuesday, Governor Pat Quinn announced what he called “common sense changes” to the General Assembly’s concealed-carry bill. The governor vetoed several specific measures in the proposed legislation, citing “serious safety problems” and too many provisions “inspired by the National Rifle Association, not the common good.”
Quinn’s revisions include a move to ban concealed weapons inside places that serve alcohol, and to limit permitted gun owners only one concealed weapon, holding a maximum of 10 rounds of ammunition, to be carried at a time. The governor also nixed a provision to prevent home-rule towns from passing assault weapon bans, tightened a partial-conceal provision to complete-conceal, and moved to give employers more regulatory discretion over guns in their businesses.
The fate of Illinois concealed-carry is now back in the legislature, where assembly members will vote to reject or approve Quinn’s revisions. Overriding the governor requires a three-fifths majority vote in both chambers.
While Quinn’s Democratic party holds significant majorities in the General Assembly, this does not guarantee his revisions will be passed. The gun control debate is largely divided along urban-rural lines, and plenty of downstate Democratic assembly members are prepared to fight alongside traditional Republican voices like the Illinois State Rifle Association to override Quinn’s changes. Leading Democrats including House Speaker Michael Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton have also moved to reject the governor’s amendatory vetoes.
Sponsoring Representative Brandon Phelps, D-Harrisburg, describes Quinn’s changes as a “total rewrite,” and accuses the governor of “political pandering to Chicago.” He argues that if the governor was serious about the revisions, he would have had a legislative member running a trailer bill to make changes, rather than springing them on the General Assembly a mere week before the deadline.
The deadline Representative Phelps refers to is the July 9th date imposed on Illinois last December by a federal appeals court, which found the state’s law banning residents from carrying concealed guns in public unconstitutional. The court mandated Illinois, the only state in the country with a concealed weapon ban, to pass new concealed-carry gun legislation within six months.
With the federal deadline looming less than a week away, there is rising concern that legislative agreement on the governor’s rewrites may not be reached in time. If that were to happen, Illinois would be left with a wide-open concealed-carry law that even sponsors of the concealed-carry bill are hoping to avoid.