Illinois Senate panel advances stricter gun-carry bill

May 28, 2013

An Illinois Senate committee has approved a Democratic plan to allow the public possession of firearms.

A majority of Democrats on the committee drove the 10-6 vote in favor of the bill by Sen. Kwame Raoul. Raoul said he doesn't know how many votes he has on the Senate floor or when he'll call it, but lawmakers are scheduled to end their legislative session Friday.

Raoul’s concealed carry legislation doesn't include a provision that overrides all local ordinances on firearms, such as Chicago's assault weapons ban.

Instead, that idea is the hallmark of a proposal the House passed overwhelmingly last week. The Senate panel defeated that plan on Tuesday.

State Sen. Don Harmon, an Oak Park Democrat, said that preemption is "a bridge too far."

Raoul's measure also prohibits carrying guns wherever alcohol is served for consumption.

Meantime, the National Rifle Association opposes Raoul’s plan that was advanced by the Senate committee Tuesday. But the organization has taken a neutral stance on the bill passed by the House of Representatives last week that would preempt local gun ordinances.

“We’re not for it. We’re not against it. But given some of the other things that are out there, there’s enough bread on this sandwich to make it choke down,” Vandermyde said Tuesday.

It’s not clear which of the two rival plans will pass both the House and the Senate. Gov. Pat Quinn has said the plan passed by the House that preempts cities gun ordinances is an “overreach.”