Over the objections of many lawmakers, members of the Illinois House of Representatives went through a marathon nine-hour session Tuesday debating various aspects of a bill allowing people to carry concealed weapons.
The unusual debate started on a hostile note, with State Rep. Jim Sacia shouting, “You folks in Chicago want me to get castrated because your families are having too many kids.” Sacia said he used the phrase as an analogy to Chicago lawmakers setting too many restrictions about where guns should and should not be allowed as part of the concealed carry legislation.
From there, lawmakers debated whether guns should be allowed in or near schools, daycares, libraries, public transit and places that serve alcohol.
By the end of the debate, several different amendments passed, but a full bill was never called for a vote.
State Rep. Dennis Reboletti said the process equated to a political game and because legislation was written so broadly, votes could be used against lawmakers in upcoming elections.
On the issue of regulating how close guns should be allowed to get to schools, Reboletti said his vote could be twisted.
“Of course, we all want violence in schools, which is nonsense,” he said. “Why can’t we do this right? We’re the laughingstock of the nation.”
State lawmakers are debating concealed carry legislation since a federal appeals court ruled Illinois’ ban on concealed carry to be unconstitutional. The court gave the state until later this spring to pass legislation. Many lawmakers have expressed concerns that if they can’t agree on where guns should and should not be allowed, then anyone will be able to carry any type of weapon anywhere without any legal consequences.