Quinn writes stricter rules into concealed carry bill
10:29 AM CDT, July 2, 2013
Gov. Pat Quinn today inserted stricter gun control measures into a high-profile concealed carry bill, sending back the carefully crafted measure to lawmakers who are wary of any changes.
According to a copy of the governor's veto message obtained by the Tribune, Quinn moved to ban guns from all places that serve alcohol, allow people with permits to carry only one concealed weapon that can hold only 10 rounds of ammunition, required guns to be completely concealed instead of partially, give employers more rights to regulate guns in their businesses, and removed a provision to prevent home-rule towns from enacting assault weapons bans.
"I have carefully reviewed every part of this legislation. This is a flawed bill with serious safety problems that must be addressed," Quinn wrote in his veto message. "Therefore, I am compelled to use my constitutional authority to rectify several specific issues, to establish a better law to protect the people of Illinois."
While the Democratic governor is within his powers to recommend changes for lawmakers to accept or reject, Quinn’s move also raises the possibility that the General Assembly could fail to agree on either option and leave Illinois with a wide-open gun law that even sponsors of the concealed carry law have sought to avoid.
The pressure now is on lawmakers to act before a July 9 deadline that a federal appellate court gave Illinois to put in place a law allowing people to carry concealed firearms. The ruled in December that Illinois must end its status as the only state in the nation with a ban on allowing citizens to carry concealed weapons in public.
Specifically, Quinn recommended that citizens be allowed to carry only one concealed weapon that can carry only 10 rounds of ammunition — a major change from the current lack of limits in the legislation.
"The bill provides no cap on the number of guns or on the size or number of ammunition clips that may be carried. Instead, it allows individuals to legally carry multiple guns with unlimited rounds of ammunition, which is a public safety hazard,” Quinn wrote in a message to lawmakers.
“Recent shootings, such as the horrific tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut, where a gunman fired 154 bullets in less than five minutes, have put a spotlight on the extreme and unnecessary danger posed by high-capacity ammunition magazines,” Quinn wrote.
“If Illinois is going to legalize the carrying of loaded, concealed guns, our state should do so with common sense and a commitment to preventing mass violence,” according to a copy of the message. “The legislation should clarify that a license will permit an individual to carry one concealed gun and one ammunition clip that can hold no more than 10 rounds of ammunition,” Quinn said.
Quinn recommended that concealed weapons not be allowed in places where there is any alcoholic-beverages served. The bill call for allowing it where the majority of sales were from food. He disagreed with limits placed on home-rule communities that may wish to have tougher gun laws. He sought to tighten employer rights to regulate firearms.
Seeking re-election in 2014, Quinn’s move to tighten the proposal is in keeping with pro-gun control stance, but it also plays well to his core Democratic constituency in the Chicago area. Yet it cuts against the governor in the vast majority of counties that voted against him throughout the state when he was elected in 2010.
Quinn already is facing new political challenges as New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a longtime gun control advocate, came out today in favor of Quinn’s potential Democratic challenger, Bill Daley, the former White House chief of staff whose brother and father both served as mayors of Chicago.
But the governor did not attempt this time to stick into the measure a ban on semi-automatic assault weapons despite his support of such a proposal. He tried that last year on a lower-profile gun bill and lawmakers ignored him.
Proponents of the legislation as passed, ranging from House Speaker Michael Madigan of Chicago to sponsoring Rep. Brandon Phelps of Southern Illinois, have predicted Quinn would use his amendatory veto power to rewrite the bill, but both have also predicted the governor’s changes would be overridden.
Rank-and-file lawmakers have been told to be ready to return to Springfield on July 8, the day before the deadline. It is one day before Quinn has set a separate deadline for the legislature to come up with a proposal to resolve the state’s $100 billion pension debt, but there’s little sign of that coming to together by then.
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