Over objections of Gov. Pat Quinn and Mayor Rahm Emanuel, the House approved a concealed weapons bill today that is aimed at ending Illinois’ status as the last state in the nation without a law to allow its citizens to carry guns in public.
But the gun bill backed by House Speaker Michael Madigan goes to a Senate where President John Cullerton has denounced the proposal because it would override local gun laws like Chicago’s assault weapons ban.
Cullerton’s stance tempered the House victory, but sponsoring Rep. Brandon Phelps contended it is critical to move forward because Illinois faces next Friday’s deadline for the spring session’s adjournment and a court order that gives the state June 9 to fashion a law. A federal appeals court struck down the state’s ban on concealed carry.
“After years of debating this issue,” said Phelps, the state legislature’s leading gun rights advocate, “it is incredibly difficult if not darn near impossible to come to a middle ground on this issue. Every legislator on this floor has a different opinion when it comes to concealed-carry policy.
“Even among us gun-rights legislators and even among the gun-control legislators, our ideals of the perfect concealed-carry legislation is not identical,” Phelps said. “There is not a bill that we could possibly draw up in which every single legislator on this floor would be perfectly happy with. We live in Illinois. We never thought this day would come."