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Print

Quinn wants gun, ammunition limits in concealed carry bill

July 02, 2013 at 04:24 PM

The State Journal-Register

Gov. Pat Quinn made extensive changes to a concealed carry law Tuesday setting up a confrontation with the General Assembly that passed the bill by large margins.

At a news conference in Chicago, Quinn said he made the changes in the interest of public safety. He also outlined the changes on a website, keepillinoissafe.org.

“There are serious flaws in this bill that jeopardize public safety for the people of Illinois,” Quinn said.

Quinn said the changes he is proposing are “commonsense” and done to promote public safety.

House Speaker Michael Madigan's spokesman Steve Brown said Tuesday the House will convene in regular session July 9 to vote on Quinn's changes. Senate President John Cullerton's spokeswoman says senators will join them.

That's the day Illinois must meet a court-mandated deadline to legalize concealed carry.

The House sponsor of the bill, Rep. Brandon Phelps, D-Harrisburg, has already filed a motion to override the changes.

Illinois lawmakers can override Quinn’s revisions by a three-fifths vote of both the House and Senate.

Brown says House members should be prepared to be in Springfield for more than one day, maybe two.

The changes Quinn wants include:

* Banning guns from any establishment that serves alcohol. The bill allowed guns in restaurants if more than 50 percent of their revenue comes from food instead of alcohol.

* Restores the ability of home-rule communities to enact a ban on assault weapons. The bill overrode home rule authority.

* Requires places to display signs that concealed carry is allowed in them. The bill reversed that and said signs had to be displayed if weapons were prohibited.

* Gives employers the right to ban weapons at their workplaces. The bill allowed guns at the workplace.

* Limited a person to carrying only one concealed weapon at a time and only one ammunition magazine limited to 10 rounds. The bill didn’t place a limit on weapons that could be carried.

* Requires a weapon to be completely concealed. The bill said a weapon had to be “mostly concealed.”

During his Chicago news conference, Quinn played up the city's violence with a list of high profile speakers including the Rev. Michael Pfleger, who has led anti-violence marches, and a former Secret Service agent who was injured in the shooting of President Ronald Reagan.

The tone was in stark contrast to the other part of the concealed carry debate in more conservative downstate Illinois where the focus has been on gun owners' rights. Several lawmakers immediately criticized Quinn's move as political and said it left them with little time before the deadline, even though they sent him the bill roughly a month ago.

"I would hope that we quickly get this matter before the General Assembly and have an opportunity to override the veto, allowing the State Police to begin the conceal carry process for trained, law-abiding citizens," state Sen. Bill Haine, an Alton Democrat, said in a statement.

Senate President John Cullerton said there were issues worth discussing with his caucus, but he intended to talk with House Speaker Michael Madigan about an override, spokeswoman Rikeesha Phelon said. Madigan's spokesman Steve Brown said the House could take it up early next week, though no formal date has been set.

"It's too bad the governor wasn't engaged in the legislative session," Brown said. "Most of the provisions were pretty thoroughly debated in the House and Senate."

It didn't take long for lawmakers and his potential political challenges to accuse Quinn of playing politics.

Quinn faces re-election next year and likely a tough challenge from within his own party. Former White House chief of staff Bill Daley, who is preparing a run, blasted Quinn for not showing leadership on the issue. Attorney General Lisa Madigan is also considering a run.

Quinn dismissed those allegations and said the court's deadline compressed the time he had to review it.

"I don't believe in compromising public safety and I don't believe in negotiating public safety," he said.

Illinois is the last state in the country that still bans concealed carry. A federal court ruled that Illinois can no longer ban the practice after July 9. Quinn repeated Tuesday that he feels the opinion was wrong.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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