Costello: Quinn veto of concealed-carry would show 'disregard' for state constitution

News-DemocratJune 25, 2013 

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Illinois Rep. Jerry Costello II on the floor of the Illinois House.

SETH PERLMAN — AP

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If he vetoes a bill that would allow the concealed-carry of guns, Gov. Pat Quinn would "demonstrate his disregard for the constitution and the democratic process in general," state Rep. Jerry Costello II said Tuesday.

Costello, a Smithton Democrat who helped negotiate a concealed-carry bill that has been sent to the governor, also said a veto would be a waste of tax money because lawmakers are likely to override a veto anyway.

"The General Assembly has done its part by passing a comprehensive concealed-carry law that meets the court's standards and keeps criminals and the dangerously mentally ill from legally carrying weapons," Costello said. "Legislators from both parties and both chambers came together to restore Illinoisans' Second Amendment rights. Now the governor must do his part."

Quinn, speaking with reporters Monday at an appearance in the Chicago area, wouldn't say if he'll sign the bill.

"That's a very complex bill. It's a very long bill. I'm analyzing every single part of it. My mission is to protect the safety of people of Illinois, all 13 million people," Quinn said. "Politicians can wait. I'll have a decision within a very reasonable period of time."

Costello said he suspects Quinn will veto the bill "for political reasons." Quinn is seeking re-election next year.

"Should the governor veto this bill, as he has threatened to do, it will only demonstrate his disregard for the constitution and the democratic process in general," Costello said. "Both houses of the General Assembly passed this bill with veto-proof majorities in a strong signal to Chicago special interests that the people of Illinois want the right to defend themselves and their families."

Costello said it makes little sense for Quinn to veto the bill, because a veto is practically certain to be overridden by the General Assembly.

"I believe a veto right now, when you know the bill has the support it does in the House and the Senate, is a waste of taxpayers' dollars," he said.

Lawmakers this spring sent Quinn a bill outlining rules for who can carry after a federal appeals court ruled Illinois' last-in-the-nation concealed-carry ban unconstitutional. The state has until July 9 to come up with a plan.

Costello said the bill is a reasonable compromise.

"In addition to passing constitutional muster, this bill requires those applying for a permit to undergo a criminal background check, complete firearm training, and meet various other requirements," he said. "This bill also preserves many local gun ordinances, while increasing uniformity so that Illinois doesn't end up with a patchwork of different gun laws. Many of these provisions were included to achieve the broad coalition of lawmakers from across the state that eventually supported this bill."

Last week, nearly two dozen Democratic senators asked Quinn to act quickly so they have time to deal with a veto or amendatory veto, saying the consequences could mean a "public safety and constitutional crisis."

The lawmakers included Sen. Bill Haine, D-Alton. The letter didn't advocate that Quinn sign or reject the legislation. It did point out, though, that authorities in a dozen counties are already refusing to prosecute those who carry concealed weapons.

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