SPRINGFIELD-After six months of debate, the question of whether Illinois gun owners should be allowed to carry their weapons in public places now rests with Gov. Pat Quinn.
The state House Friday voted 89-28 to approve a compromise gun deal that preserves local gun laws, including Chicago and Cook County's bans on assault weapons, and keeps gun owners from carrying their loaded weapons on public trains and buses.
But it hands gun owners a potent new right that would end the state's last-in-the-nation prohibition on concealed carry and, in the eyes of gun-rights advocates, put a dent in the state's crime rates.
"This is a very historic day. I never thought this day would come," said Rep. Brandon Phelps (D-Harrisburg), a gun-rights advocate at the center of concealed-carry negotiations.
"Crime has gone down in every state that has had concealed carry," Phelps said.
The House's action came after the Senate voted 45-12, with one voting present.
Quinn has kept his intentions about concealed-carry close to the vest. On Friday, as the legislation took a fast-track path through the Senate and House, his administration expressed neutrality toward the bill.
Asked whether he'd sign it, spokeswoman Brooke Anderson would say only, "The governor will review the bill once it reaches his desk."
The Legislature and Quinn face a June 9 deadline imposed by a federal appeals court in Chicago to change the state's prohibition against allowing gun owners to carry their weapons in public areas.