SPRINGFIELD-Gun-owners wouldn't be permitted to carry their weapons in or around schools, child-care centers, casinos or government buildings under legislation that advanced Tuesday in the House despite protests from Republicans and Downstate Democrats.
The epic gun-control debate of 2013 crept forward despite angry GOP protests that a bid to vote on components of a concealed-carry law piecemeal was little more than a game of political one-upmanship by ruling Democrats.
The first significant vote came shortly after 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, when the House sided with a bid to bar the carrying of concealed weapons on or near school property. By 5 p.m., the chamber had meandered to the fifth of 27 amendments to a concealed-carry bill carried by House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago), signaling the potential of a very late night.
Earlier, the House GOP stormed off the House floor, upset that gun-rights members were being asked to vote on prohibitions against carrying concealed guns into and near schools rather than a comprehensive concealed-carry bill.
"Why can't we do this right?" yelled Rep. Dennis Reboletti (R-Elmhurst). "We're the laughingstock of the nation. We don't talk about pensions today. We're not talking about the budget today.
"It's gun week here in the state Capitol, so we'll play these games until we can get roll calls that can be used against every body so we can say, 'There's Reboletti, he wants guns in schools,'" he said. "More nonsense."
The House came into session at about 2 p.m. after Republicans and Democrats met separately behind closed doors to plot strategies on how to vote on 27 different amendments to Madigan's concealed-carry legislation.
House Republicans fell 13 votes shy of sending Madigan's bill back to committee then pushed for another close-door meeting as debate was underway on the second amendment of the day, one sponsored by Rep. Michael Zalewski (D-Riverside).
Zalewski's measure, which he characterized as a "reasonable restriction," would ban carrying loaded firearms onto or "near" school property.
House debate resumed at about 3:30 p.m. Tuesday.
The House embarked on a marathon series of politically divisive votes to lay down limits on where exactly gun owners can legally carry their weapons in public after a federal appeals court in December tossed Illinois' prohibition on concealed-carry and ordered lawmakers to craft a law permitting it by early June.
Tuesday's unusual maneuver orchestrated by Madigan, a traditional proponent of gun-control measures, was aimed at focusing on 27 different tweaks to pending concealed-carry legislation -- House Bill 1155 -- bearing his name.
Nearly a dozen different legislators filed amendments Monday to Madigan's bill, laying out specifically where gun owners could take their weapons once the state answers a December federal court order to end Illinois' outright ban on carrying concealed weapons.
Some of the places the amendments would bar gun owners from taking their weapons include government buildings, child-care facilities, casinos, hospitals, stadiums and arenas, protests, museums, universities, public transit, amusement parks and churches.