Downstate lawmaker erupts during latest debate on concealed-carry

News-DemocratApril 17, 2013 

— The debate over how to formulate a law allowing the concealed-carry of firearms resulted in fireworks Wednesday in the Illinois House.

In the end, House members voted 76-31 against a proposal, pushed by Chicago-area Democrats, that would have allowed county sheriffs and other government officials to weigh in on whether a person should be allowed to have a concealed-carry permit. The "may issue" proposal, House Bill 831, was modeled after a highly restrictive New York gun law.

Gun proponents now plan to call for a vote this week on a "shall issue" concealed-carry bill, under which a permit would have to be issued to anyone who meets certain requirements.

A pro-gun Republican -- goaded by a Democrat -- exploded during debate Wednesday on the "may issue" proposal.

Democratic Rep. Scott Drury of Highwood called GOP complaints about the "may issue" legislation "nonsense." Republican Rep. Mike Bost of Murphysboro began screaming his objections. The presiding officer repeatedly called for order because Bost was not recognized.

After order was restored, Drury said: "Here's my point, members. We don't want someone like that carrying a concealed weapon."

That set off Bost again, and the chamber erupted in shouts between legislators.

Bost and Drury both apologized later.

The "may issue" bill's sponsor, Rep. Kelly Cassidy, a Chicago Democrat, said more guns "are not the answer to the city's gun violence problem."

Rep. Jerry Costello II, D-Smithton, argued that a law like New York's would result in concealed-carry permits being granted only to the privileged and those with connections.

"We don't need bureaucrats issuing these permits to their friends," Costello said.

Rep. Jim Sacia, R-Pecatonica, invoked the Boston Marathon bombings during his comments on the proposal.

"It verified that guns don't kill people, crazy people kill people," Sacia said.

The legislature is under a court-ordered deadline to pass a concealed-carry law by the end of its spring session. Gun proponents say if no law is passed, the federal court's ruling means Illinoisans would be allowed to carry weapons in public with almost no restrictions.

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