SPRINGFIELD-Attorney General Lisa Madigan moved Monday to get Gov. Pat Quinn another month to mull over newly passed legislation to give Illinois gun owners authority to carry their weapons in public places.
Madigan filed paperwork with the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals to seek a 30-day extension of a court order requiring the state to come up a law that would end the state's last-in-the-country prohibition against concealed carry.
A December ruling by the appeals panel gave Quinn and the state Legislature 180 days to craft concealed-carry legislation. That deadline expires on June 9, leaving Quinn little time to review the legislation sent to him last week by the Illinois House.
There also has been uncertainty about what exactly would happen after June 9 if no concealed-carry law was on the books. Gun-rights advocates had predicted "mayhem" in which it might be permissible for owners of even military-style weapons to take their guns anywhere they wanted.
"This request for an additional 30 days would allow the governor a reasonable amount of time to fulfill his state constitutional duties," Madigan said in a prepared statement.
"Further, if granted, this additional time would help prevent a situation in which there is no state law in place governing the carrying of handguns in public, which the Court sought to avoid in setting the original stay," she said.
The governor's office welcomed the move by Madigan, who has not ruled out a possible 2014 primary challenge against Quinn for governor.
"We think the request for a 30-day stay is appropriate," Quinn spokeswoman Brooke Anderson said. "The bill has not yet arrived. Ordinarily, under the Illinois Constitution, the governor has 60 days to review a bill upon its arrival."
Last week, the governor's office would only say Quinn intends to "review" the legislation but would not offer any sense of the governor's leanings on the legislation.
The plan that was fast-tracked through the House and Senate last week was a compromise deal that preserves existing 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.