Photo Credit: APGun owners could carry concealed weapons in Illinois, the last state in the nation to prohibit it, under legislation that swept through the House Friday with the backing of the powerful Democratic speaker from Chicago, a city torn by violence despite what critics claim are the nation’s toughest firearms restrictions.
The historic 85-30 vote would allow the carrying of concealed guns, a legislative task compelled by a federal appeals court ruling and precipitated by House Speaker Michael Madigan’s turnabout.
But its obliteration of all local gun laws, including Chicago’s ban on assault-style weapons, drew immediate resistance from Gov. Pat Quinn, a Chicago Democrat like Madigan. Quinn said the proposal endangers the public by pre-empting local gun laws, which have nothing to do with concealed carry, the only subject covered by the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals’ decree.
“We need strong gun-safety laws that protect the people of our state. Instead, this measure puts public safety at risk,” Quinn said in a prepared statement.
Senate President John Cullerton, another Democrat from Chicago, called the pre-emption provision “offensive.” Cullerton said he would meet privately with his majority caucus Monday to decide how to proceed. A Senate concealed-carry plan, which overrules local control only by requiring a statewide carry program, is on the Senate floor awaiting a vote.
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