Concealed-carry is law in Ill.: Senate and House override Gov.'s veto

 

Belleville News-Democrat

SPRINGFIELD — Illinois now has a law allowing people to carry concealed weapons.

The Illinois House and Senate both voted Tuesday to override Gov. Pat Quinn's amendatory veto of a concealed-carry bill -- a move that one legislator said should shame the governor.

With the override votes, the bill became law, effective immediately.

House members approved the override without any debate on the floor. The vote in the House was 77-31 in favor of an override, with 10 representatives not voting.

The Senate vote was 41-17, after some mild debate. A three-fifths majority vote was needed in each chamber to override the veto.

State lawmakers this spring, working under a federal court deadline, spent months negotiating on a bill that would allow Illinoisans to carry guns in public. Last week, however, Quinn issued an amendatory veto that rewrote multiple parts of the bill, making it more restrictive.

Rep. Brandon Phelps, D-Harrisburg, who was a lead sponsor of the bill, said Quinn's veto was a move designed to help him the Democratic nomination for the governor's race.

"It was all grandstanding, and he should be ashamed of himself," Phelps said.

Phelps said the legislature's override "sends a pretty good message to the governor. I'll just leave it at that."

With a veto override, Quinn's changes will not be part of the law.

The governor still is trying to get his additional restrictions enacted -- through a separate bill. Rep. Jerry Costello II, D-Smithton, who helped engineer the concealed-carry bill, said he doubts Quinn's added restrictions will get enacted.

"I'm not sure what will happen in the Senate, but I can tell you, in my opinion, I don't think that looks very good in the House," Costello said.

Quinn's proposed restrictions include a one-gun limit, not allowing guns in places that serve alcohol and not allowing guns in businesses unless the owner posts a sign saying guns are allowed. As sent to the governor, the bill prohibits guns in businesses where alcohol sales account for more than half of the receipts, and in places where the owner posts a sign prohibiting guns.

Illinois must comply with a federal appeals court deadline after the state's ban on concealed carry was ruled unconstitutional in December. The original bill, which came out of months of negotiation, would allow the Illinois State Police to issue a concealed carry permit to a gun owner with a Firearm Owners Identification card who passes a background check, pays a fee and undergoes 16 hours of training.

There's little agreement about what would have happened if no law was enacted by Tuesday. Some say it would have resulted in anyone being allowed to carry a gun anywhere, while others said it would have prompted local municipalities to enact their own ordinances.

All of the metro-east's representatives in the House voted in favor of the override: Dan Beiser, D-Alton; John Cavaletto, R-Salem; Jerry Costello II, D-Smithton; Jay Hoffman, D-Belleville; Eddie Lee Jackson, D-East St. Louis; Dwight Kay, R-Glen Carbon; and Charlie Meier, R-Okawville.

The metro-east's senators also voted in favor of the override: Majority Leader James Clayborne, D-Belleville; Bill Haine, D-Alton; Dave Luechtefeld, R-Okawville; and Kyle McCarter, R-Lebanon.

The bill is House Bill 183.

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