CHICAGO (AP) —
Calling it a "flawed bill that jeopardizes public safety," Gov. Pat Quinn
made major alterations Tuesday to a concealed carry measure, including
setting a one-gun limit on the number of firearms a person can carry and
banning weapons entirely from establishments where alcohol is served.
governor used his amendatory veto power to change legislation sent to him
after months of intense debate and compromise. He added provisions on
signage, employers' rights and allowing local communities to create their
own laws limiting assault weapons.
The move puts
Illinois legislators on the spot to decide whether to reject Quinn's
changes before a federal judge's July 9 deadline for Illinois to adopt a
concealed carry law. Some vowed immediately to seek an override of Quinn's
changes, a move that would require a three-fifths majority in both
chambers, noting the original bill had the required votes to do it.
the last state nationwide with a ban on concealed carry of weapons. But a
December ruling by the 7th U.S. Circuit Appeals Court called it
unconstitutional and set the deadline for lawmakers to comply.
clear he never agreed with the ruling and said lawmakers put together the
bill in a "hurried way," influenced the National Rifle Association.
serious flaws in this bill that jeopardize public safety of the people of
Illinois," Quinn said at a packed Chicago news conference attended by
nearly 100 anti-violence advocates, including family members of those
He 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
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.
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.
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.
dismissed those allegations and said the court's deadline compressed the
time he had to review it.
believe in compromising public safety and I don't believe in negotiating
public safety," he said.
legislation allows qualified gun owners who pass background checks and
undergo 16 hours of training to get carry permits for $150.
Quinn added would prevent gun owners from taking their weapons into any
establishment that serves alcohol, including restaurants whose liquor
sales amount to less than half of their gross sales. That's a provision
gun owners would not bend on in legislative negotiations.
out the bill would allow people to carry more than one gun with unlimited
numbers of ammunition rounds, which he called a "public safety hazard." He
rewrote it to limit gun owners to carrying one loaded, concealed gun with
an ammunition clip holding no more than 10 rounds.
removed a provision that requires communities wanting to ban
semi-automatic assault-style weapons to do so within 10 days after the
legislation takes effect, saying communities should maintain local control
over guns not covered by the concealed carry law.
for clarifying language to make sure the Illinois State Police get the
mental health records they need to determine whether a permit applicant
could be a threat to himself or others. He objected to language requiring
a gun to be "mostly concealed," saying it would lead to a law allowing
guns to be carried on the hip, in the open, and causing "fear and
confusion among the public."
He said a
board considering appeals of denied permits should not be allowed to
operate in secret, out of the public's eye, and said gun-toting citizens
should be required to notify police, when asked, that they're carrying.
sponsor, state Rep. Brandon Phelps, a Harrisburg Democrat, said the bill
was the result of a hard-won compromise and he'd likely file a motion to
override any changes. He said changing it to allow cities to have
different rules "would lead to all kinds of lawsuits."
"We've got a
compromise with (Chicago), both sides of aisle and both chambers," Phelps
said. "He's playing politics with this over public safety."