House Guns Bill Passes Committee; Quinn Disapproves

May 23, 2013

A measure that would allow Illinois residents to carry concealed firearms is heading to the House floor after lawmakers approved it in committee on Thursday.  But Gov. Pat Quinn opposes the plan.

The legislation prohibits concealed-carry in many public places, like public transit, sports arenas, schools, and street festivals.

Some of these have been sticking points for gun-rights advocates, who would prefer universal carry.

State Rep. Brandon Phelps (D-Harrisburg) said legislation would also eliminate differing local gun laws in favor of a uniformed state law.

“If Rep. Bost and I are going to go to Wisconsin goose hunting, we’re traveling in our car, we’re not going to know from one town to another what’s expected of them," Phelps said. "And they get pulled over or get a flat tire, and they find out their gun is transported illegally; they go to jail. We just don’t think that’s right.”

However, the elimination of local rules would also strike down bans on assault weapons, like the one in Cook County.

Concealed carry applicants would pay $150 for a permit.

Applicants who are denied permits because local law enforcement says they're dangerous would be able to appeal to a seven-member review board.

The measure was endorsed 13-3 by the House Judiciary Committee. It comes two weeks before a June 9 deadline set by a federal appeals court for Illinois to abandon its prohibition on the public possession of weapons.

Gov. Quinn spokeswoman Brooke Anderson calls the legislation is "a massive overreach'' because it would overturn all existing local gun laws on the books. 

Anderson says a Chicago ban on assualt-style weapons would endanger the public.

The plan for Friday's vote was brokered by House Speaker Michael Madigan, who like Quinn is a Chicago Democrat. Madigan spokesman Steve Brown says the speaker thought it was best to have "one law for one state'' to minimize confusion.

The federal appeals court ruled that the Illinois ban on concealed carry was unconstitutional.

Story source: Illinois Public Radio