Could there be a version of the concealed carry bill so bad Gov. Pat Quinn just won't sign it?
Quinn ducked that question Monday in a meeting with the Chicago Sun-Times Editorial Board, saying, "I would much rather see both houses [of the Legislature] debate the issue."
But the question won't go away, now that an effort led by state Sen. Kwame Raoul came up short of the needed 30 votes Friday (it wasn't even called). The House speaker's staff is drawing up an alternative said to be much closer to the NRA's position, which would allow concealed carry around the state with no provision for limits set by local governments.
Quinn said he made calls Friday on behalf of Raoul's "well-crafted" bill, but it came up one vote short. He said Senate President John Cullerton "is very strongly in favor" of the concepts in the bill.
The U.S. 7th Circuit appeals court has ruled Illinois' ban on concealed carry unconstitutional and set a June 9 deadline for the Legislature to pass a law permitting it.
But some opponents of gun violence are starting to suggest that it would be better to let the deadline go by than to go along with an NRA-favored bill that would have very few limits on concealed carry.
In that case, the issue would be remanded to the district federal court, and home-rule governments such as Chicago and Cook County could pass their own laws limiting where concealed guns could be taken. That could lead to different rules in Illinois' more than 200 home-rule jurisdictions.
Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan could appeal the 7th Circuit decision, but according to one person involved in the negotiations, that wouldn't stop the clock unless the U.S. Supreme Court took the case. And that court already has declined to take a similar case out of New York.
Meanwhile, the Senate is holding a hearing on a separate bill that would ban high-capacity ammunition magazines, limiting them to 10 rounds. Families of Newtown victims spent last night in the governor's mansion and were scheduled to testify today in committee.
Pointing out that some Newtown children escaped while the shooter paused to reload, Quinn said of the bill, "We are really going to try to get that done. ... We think that is imperative."
"The first job as governor is public safety," Quinn said. "I am certainly not enthused at all about a bad [concealed carry] bill. Some of the people who are advocating concealed carry, it is concealed weapons on your person in a public place. When you recite that to people in Illinois, the voters who aren't members of this or that group, they are against this big time."
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