Concealed-carry is law: Senate and House override Quinn's veto

News-DemocratJuly 9, 2013 

— 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, following 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 the 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.

Quinn spent the past week rallying support in Chicago for his restrictions, and had promised a "showdown in Springfield" over the bill. On Tuesday he said the veto override was "extremely" disappointing.

"Following a weekend of horrific violence in Chicago in which at least 70 people were shot and 12 killed, this was the wrong move for public safety in Illinois," Quinn said. "Members of the Illinois House could not even manage to pass follow-up legislation that included a few of the critical changes that I outlined last week, such as improved mental health reporting and the duty to immediately inform law enforcement officers of the possession of a loaded concealed weapon."

Quinn said lawmakers "surrendered to the National Rifle Association in the waning days of session and passed a flawed bill that allows people to carry guns in establishments that serve alcohol, and allows people to carry unlimited guns and unlimited high-capacity ammunition magazines."

The law will require 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 $150 fee and undergoes 16 hours of training -- the most training required by any state.

Under the law, the ISP has six months to set up a system to start accepting applications. When an application is submitted, the agency has 90 days to approve or reject the permit.

In light of those time frames, Madison County State's Attorney Tom Gibbons on Tuesday said he will keep in force his policy of not prosecuting people who carry guns for self-defense. Gibbons in early June announced that he would not file charges as long as the person meets seven requirements, including possessing a valid FOID card and not violating any other laws. Gibbons said his current policy will remain in force until the state begins issuing concealed-carry permits.

St. Clair County State's Attorney Brendan Kelly said he'll continue to exercise discretion in deciding whether to charge someone who carries a gun for self-defense.

"Our constitutional system of state and federal powers and co-equal branches of government can be frustrating, but in the end it works and wiselybalancesour rights and responsibilities," Kelly said. "Now concealed carry is the law of Illinois, and my fellow prosecutors and I will continue to use common sense and discretion as this law is implemented."

The legislature was working against a federal appeals court deadline after the state's last-in-the-nation ban on concealed-carry was ruled unconstitutional in December. The court gave the legislature until Tuesday to ends its ban.

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.

Here's what some of those lawmakers said about the bill:

* Haine: "Illinois finally has a comprehensive, constitutional program allowing citizens to protect themselves in public. I was proud to represent the will of my constituents and cast this final vote allowing concealed carry."

* Kay: "The courts reaffirmed our Second Amendment rights by requiring Illinois to enact concealed-carry. I am proud to honor our Constitution with my vote to override the governor's veto. My office has received thousands of e-mails and phone calls from Illinois residents in support of concealed-carry. I am happy to report Illinois now recognizes our constitutional right to carry."

* Cavaletto: "If the governor wanted to provide his input into this process, there were many opportunities before the bill was finalized and the votes were taken for him to get involved. For him to ride in after the fact and destroy years of negotiations with his changes, shows how out of touch he is."

* Meier: "At no point since the Seventh Circuit made their ruling has the governor made any attempt to have his voice heard during the concealed-carry negotiations. Had he become a part of the process, we could have heard, discussed, and debated his ideas. The governor was at least six months too late. Illinois desperately needs leadership, and if this entire concealed-carry process has showed us anything, it's that there is no leadership coming from the governor's office."

* Costello: "Obviously we feel this is a very good bill, a very complete bill. It was a bipartisan effort. With 10 members not being here today, I think 77 votes is a pretty convincing number."

Belleville News-Democrat is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service