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Madigan-backed concealed-carry plan passes House, Quinn calls legislation 'wrong for Illinois'

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CONCEALED_CARRY_39324349.JPGHouse Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago) argues concealed carry-gun legislation while on the House floor Friday. (AP Photo/Seth Perlman)

SPRINGFIELD -- The Illinois House overwhelmingly voted Friday to lift the state's prohibition on allowing people to carry concealed weapons by passing legislation favored by House Speaker Michael Madigan and gun-rights advocates, but Gov. Pat Quinn and the top Senate Democrat vowed to kill it.

Friday's lopsided House vote did little to cut through the legislative haze of how -- or if -- the state intends to comply with a federal court order requiring an end within about two weeks to Illinois' last-in-the-nation prohibition against gun owners carrying their weapons in public places.

"This legislation is wrong for Illinois," Quinn said after Friday's House vote. "It was wrong [Thursday] in committee. It's wrong today. And it's wrong for the future of public safety in our state.

"I will not support this bill, and I will work with members of the Illinois Senate to stop it in its tracks," Quinn said.

The vote came after gun-rights advocates predicted their plan would lower crime rates despite warnings from critics in the legislative chamber that the bill is "dangerous."

"Concealed carry works. In every place it's been in this country, crime has gone down dramatically," said state Rep. Brandon Phelps (D-Harrisburg), the bill's chief House sponsor.

His measure -- backed by Madigan but opposed by the Southwest Side Democrat's daughter, Attorney General Lisa Madigan -- passed the House 85-30, with one membervoting present. The bill, which needed 71 votes to pass, now moves to the Senate.

Besides Cullerton and Quinn, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle lined up against the legislation, describing it as a dangerous overreach that would flood Illinois' streets with more guns and gut local gun-control laws.

Friday's roll call, which carried more than enough votes to override a Quinn veto, represents a response to a December ruling by the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals. That federal appeals panel in Chicago tossed out Illinois' prohibition on concealed carry and ordered Quinn and lawmakers to come up with a law allowing it by June 9.

Phelps' legislation would impose a uniform standard across the state that would permit gun owners to obtain five-year, concealed-carry permits for $150 after undergoing training and background checks.

The legislation also sets out nearly two dozen locations where concealed weapons would be banned, including in public trains and buses, parks, the Cook County Forest Preserves, government buildings, schools, museums, libraries and public gatherings like city street fairs or the Taste of Chicago.

The measure would invalidate local governments' gun-control laws, such as Chicago and Cook County's ban on assault weapons.

"The 7th Circuit had a very specific directive," said Rep. Ann Williams (D-Chicago), an opponent of Phelps' legislation. "That directive was to provide for concealed carry in the state of Illinois. We go so far beyond that in this bill by preemption and, in effect, repealing, invalidating, hundreds if not thousands of local laws and ordinances. I think we need to think long and hard before we do this."

Another "no" vote, Rep. Christian Mitchell (D-Chicago), ridiculed the fact that the National Rifle Association wasn't publicly advocating for the legislation even though the bill gave the group much of what it wanted.

"The idea the NRA is 'neutral' on this is like saying that there's a fox 'neutral' on an appropriation to defund henhouse security," Mitchell said.

The roll call was driven by support from the powerful House speaker, who has been a long-time opponent to concealed-carry but said he switched sides in the debate because of the court edict and after watching the results of a series of House votes on the issue earlier this spring.

In mid-April, concealed-carry legislation drafted by gun-control advocates failed by drawing only 31 votes in the House. A day later, a bill written by gun-rights forces drew 64 votes, a total below the 71 votes it needed but still far more than its rival plan.

Madigan said the NRA-backed plan originally had 75 votes before he worked against it and peeled off 11 votes.

"Those vote counts are very telling," Madigan said in explaining his new posture on concealed-carry. "They tell the reason why I stand before you today, changing a position, which I've advocated for well over 20 years. But that's what happens in a democracy, where there's free and open debate and people are called upon to cast votes in legislative bodies.

"Over time," the speaker continued, "the people who sent them to legislative bodies change their thinking. And in a democracy, it's not only OK to do that, it's expected that there be changes in thinking by people and legislators consistent with how the people in the country feel."

After the vote, Madigan predicted the legislation would rack up a similar roll call if it gets called in the Senate before next Friday's scheduled legislative adjournment, a scenario Cullerton would not address after the House vote.

The Senate president said he intends to measure support for the bill within his 40-member caucus on Monday, but he made clear his intention to try burying the bill and offering up some form of legislative Plan B on guns.
"I'm going to try to defeat the bill, and we're going to have a caucus on it on Monday," he told reporters.

"Maybe we'll have a caucus and see there is no support, and we'll go ahead with an alternative. Once the members realize there's an alternative that's very similar, almost identical to the House alternative, maybe we can avoid this," he continued. "Maybe we can focus our attention on concealed carry, which is what the courts tasked us with doing, and then solve that part of the problem we have facing us."

While Emanuel's administration was silent on the legislation during a Thursday House committee hearing, the mayor's office later issued a statement expressing opposition to the bill.

Still, a dozen city Democrats voted in favor of Phelps' legislation Friday. They included Rep. Maria Antonia Berrios, Rep. Daniel Burke, Rep. John D'Amico, Rep. Monique Davis, Rep. Mary Flowers, Rep. La Shawn Ford, Rep. Frances Ann Hurley, Rep. Silvana Tabares and Rep. Andre Thapedi.

Suburban Democrats voting for the legislation included Rep. Linda Chapa LaVia (D-Aurora), Rep. Fred Crespo (D-Hoffman Estates), Rep. Will Davis (D-Homewood), Rep. Anthony DeLuca (D-Chicago Heights), Rep. Keith Farnham (D-Elgin), Rep. Jack Franks (D-Marengo), Rep. Thaddeus Jones (D-Calumet City), Rep. Robert Martwick (D-Norridge), Rep. Rita Mayfield (D-Waukegan), Rep. Al Riley (D-Olympia Fields), Rep. Bob Rita (D-Blue Island), Rep. Carol Sente (Vernon Hills) and Rep. Michael Zalewski (D-Riverside).

The full House Republican delegation supported the bill.

"We have the Second Amendment of the Constitution, and we in the state of Illinois have chosen to ignore that over many, many years. And I've said on this House floor before and I'll say it again: Why is it that we in the state of Illinois are the very last to do this?" said state Rep. Mike Bost (R-Murphysboro), a long-time concealed-carry backer. "Do we think we're smarter? If we're so smart, why do we have a city that has the highest crime rate in the nation if this works so well by not having concealed carry?"

Madigan's daughter, the attorney general, still has not decided whether to appeal the federal appeals court ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court but, like Cullerton, does not like the way Phelps' legislation is crafted. As with Emanuel, her office issued a statement against the bill but remained silent during Thursday's House hearing.

Both her office and the speaker confirmed Friday the two spoke about her position on the legislation.

"Throughout the session, our legislative team has expressed to legislators that the [attorney general] has policy concerns about the broad pre-emption of home-rule authority and the 'shall issue' approach," said Natalie Bauer, a spokeswoman for the attorney general.

Asked what how the speaker responded when the attorney general raised those concerns to him, Bauer said, "You'll have to ask the speaker himself about his response."

When asked that specific question, the speaker displayed a lawyer-like, poker face.

"Well, that was a family discussion," he said. "So, it's privileged."

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16 Comments

"thousands of local laws and ordinances"

And what have those thousands of laws and local ordinances done for the murder rate in Chicago?

Um yeah, that's what I thought.

this is a terrible bill. it is a watered down "may issue" bill with too many restrictions and cost too much. the only thing good about this bill is madigan gave tiny an "education" by making him the sacrificial lamb and throwing him under the bus! welcome to il politics tiny

I am glad it passed, the city of Chicago, keep in mind, is not the whole state of Illinois, and residents of Chicago should have the same rights the whole state of IL just got concerning concealed carry. I do not believe this will cause more criminals to have guns, they are presently concealing hand guns every day, NOW law-abiding citizens have the same right.

The latest arrested shooter that I just read about in Back of the Yards neighborhood, "has a pending weapons case in juvenile court". This is often reported in the Sun Times when a murder by gun is reported in Chicago. Enforce the laws in Chicago...get tough, prosecute, do not let them back on the streets!

Chicago's murders by gun are not by law-abiding, FOID card carrying citizens from other communities in the state of IL. And if law-abiding residents in Chicago city limits (if allowed to protect themselves) had guns, they would not be the offenders either.

I stand by the 2nd Amendment as written. Stop blaming the NRA; US citizens believe it or not are taking a stand.

HEY!

HO!

WE THE PEOPLE SAY GUNS MUST GO!!!!!!


WE THE PEOPLE DEMAND GUN CONTROL AND A GUN BAN NOT A CONCEAL CARRY LAW THAT WILL INCREASE THE DEATH AND DESTRUCTION IN OUR CITIES!

Law abiding citizens in the other 49 states that allow CCW permits do not pull guns unless their life is in immediate danger. There are no shoot outs as the politicians of IL would like you to believe. Thugs, who would never qualify for a CCW, pull guns for their criminal activity. I believe that once the CCW issue is resolved crime will actually go down. Guns don't kill people. People, very bad people, kill people. And the criminals will always have guns. So should the good guys...even in IL.
Michael T. Sweig

Bravo , the punks will finally have to worry about law abiding citizens who can shoot straight!

Concealed Carry is coming Chicago, and there isn't a thing you can do about. Not even your little Queen, oops, I mean Mayor, can stop it! Pretty soon It won't be just the bad guys with guns, the good guys will be able to shoot back! And it is long overdue!

If people in Illinois just feel compelled to carry guns when 85 percent of Americans say they are for gun control, have some suggestions. Having lived in Chicago 13 years as a single woman, I am proud to say I never owned a gun and was never a victim of crime.

If guns are needed, they should be concealed Mon-Sat., during the hours of 8:00 PM - 5:00 AM only. I believe these are the most vulnerable hours for most citizens and are the hours when schools and college classes are dismissed for the day. No guns may be concealed on Sundays at all. Also, gunowners should be required to purchase insurance. Once the State tries this for one year, a commission should report on the changes.

I now live in St Louis my hometown, have no gun and have yet to be a victim nor perpetrator of crime. Stay prayerful and God bless you.

The seventh circus court of libs ruled we are entitled to the same protection in public as we are in the home. I expect many appeals and lawsuits our state can not afford so please just pass the bill already. The voters want it, Our founding fathers wanted us to have it. and It's enshrined in the constitution. you lost, the fights over son, go on home.

Quinny boy doesn't like the citizens of Chicago and Illinois enabling themselves to carry???? Uh-huh, then that wipe cronie pollie via Kanga court to attain Guvship is now mandated by law abiding citizens to give us his gun-toting concealed carrying crooks to defend, what? IT's arse? LOL. QUINN needs to go! Another elitist Progressive that has to take a hike!

Hey, it's a way of life, Quinny, da Ninny. You do not support your constituents, toolbag.

You don't like t? Too bad, licker off Oblunder's worn out tired soles.

Get Progressive OUT! Quinn must GO!
Quinn proves up AGAIN that he is so out of touch with the residents of Illinois, I hope someone pegs him on something; that possibility is so damn good, I bet other crooked pollie are salivating at his demise.

Yeah, they should just do what they are doing in Chicago because things are so safe there. Oh wait a minute......

TO many restrictions on where you can carry! If your out with your family,now you go to a place that you cant carry you need to keep your gun in the car not safe! the bad guys will pattern that and break in to your car or while on the way to your car youll run into them while breaking into your car not good conceal to carry is for protection! but illinois is looked down they need to look at other states on there conceal to carry laws or are the other states smarter and better then illinois?

try and take away Quinn and the mayor of Chicagos hired guns that protect them and their families 24/7 and see what happens lol Then he says its wrong for public safety? LOL Illinois is the only state without a carry law yet Quinn and the Mayor play host to having the murder capital of America

This legislation is a blow to criminals. I live in a CC state (Missouri) and have a permit. The same arguments were used here before the bill passed. We don't have road rage shootouts or gunfights at stoplights either, but we do have less crime.

As The speaker said: But that's what happens in a democracy, We the people please do some reading of your U.S.A. creation documents you'll find out we don't live in a Democracy But we Live in a Republic. A DEMOCRACY IS ONE STEP FROM BEING A SOCIALIST RULING Government. The Handout Give me more group of liberals that the Gov. Pres. & our Sen. elected that most of the we the people did not want are dictating & making whores out of a nation which is bankrupt yet these political Progressive Socialist, continue to rape the little Americans to support their Royal lifestyle of same sex non producing of humanity. Lincoln said they will reduce themselves by they own distorted behaviors.

Every illegal gun started out as a legal gun. More guns is not the answer to the gun violence epidemic in this country. We have to find a way to keep the guns out of criminals hands. Let the police do the policing, and if they're not, that's what we need to get done.

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