Quinn to take action on concealed-carry bill in Chicago

News-DemocratJuly 2, 2013 

Jeff Hiller (left) and Bob Starke look at a .38 caliber pistol in 2011 while at the Belleville Indoor Shooting Range. Both men were from St. Louis and favored concealed carry.

STEVE NAGY/BND

Gov. Pat Quinn will make a public appearance Tuesday in Chicago to take action on a bill that would allow Illinoisans to carry guns in public.

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Quinn has informed some lawmakers that he'll issue an amendatory veto, which tentatively makes the following changes to the bill:

* Requires a person carrying a gun to have it completely concealed, rather than mostly.

* Limits a person to carrying one magazine that is capable of holding 10 or fewer bullets.

* Prohibits carrying in any establishment where alcohol is consumed, except for a private residence or private club. The original bill prohibited carrying in establishments where alcohol sales account for more than 50 percent of receipts.

* Inverts the presumption of where a person can carry. Licensees can carry only in locations where the property owner has posted a sign indicating it's OK to carry a gun on the property. Previously, the bill said property owners had to post signs if they wanted to prohibit carrying guns on their property.

* Allows employers to prohibit guns on their properties, even inside vehicles on parking lots. Previously, the bill's "safe harbor" provision allowed an employee to keep his or her firearm in the car while parked in the lot, even if the employer prohibited firearms on the property.

* Requires a licensee to lock the gun in a case before exiting the vehicle when parked outside a location that prohibits guns. Previously, the bill allowed a licensee to carry an unloaded gun in the immediate area surrounding the car in order to store it or retrieve it from the trunk.

* Completely removes the preemption against bans on so-called assault weapons, thereby restoring the authority of municipalities to enact bans on such weapons.

The fact that he's holding the event in Chicago reinforces the notion that he'll veto the bill or use his amendatory veto powers to rewrite the bill, making it more stringent. Opposition to a concealed-carry bill is centered in crime-weary Chicago, while support for such a bill has flourished downstate.

During an appearance Sunday on a Chicago television station, he said carrying a gun in public is "a prescription for danger," and added that he's "never, ever been excited about this idea" of concealed-carry of weapons.

Illinois faces a July 9 deadline to legalize carrying of weapons in public after a federal appeals court found Illinois' ban unconstitutional.

This spring, the legislature approved a concealed-carry compromise bill, outlining rules for who can get a concealed-carry permit and where a gun can be carried.

One of the architects of the bill, Rep. Jerry Costello II, D-Smithton, said he expects Quinn to issue some type of veto "for political reasons." Costello last week said a veto by Quinn would "only demonstrate his disregard for the constitution and the democratic process in general."

Another author of the bill, Rep. Brandon Phelps, D-Harrisburg, said Quinn is trying to appease Chicago voters as he prepares for a re-election bid.

"He's simply playing politics with this, that's all he's doing," Phelps said. "It's a double standard. What kind of message is he sending when he walks around with armed security guards but he won't let people exercise their constitutional right to protect themselves or their family?"

Phelps said the House and Senate probably can put enough votes on the bill to override a veto.

Experts argue about what happens if Illinois doesn't have laws in place by the deadline. Gun-rights advocates say it would mean any gun could be carried anywhere. Others say it would allow local municipalities to adopt carry laws.

Quinn's event Tuesday is scheduled for 11 a.m. at the James R. Thompson Center in Chicago.

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