After months of hardline negotiations among lawmakers, Ill. Gov. Pat Quinn on Tuesday signed a bill allowing residents to carry concealed weapons, but only after making several significant changes that he says will make Illinois residents safer.
Illinois was the only state in the country to outright ban concealed carry until a federal court in Chicago mandated the lawmakers to allow the practice.
“I felt that ruling was wrong then, I still feel it’s wrong,” Quinn said at Tuesday’s press conference. “It has not been appealed. We therefore have to take action to protect the public safety of the people of Illinois.”
The Chicago Democrat used his amendatory veto powers to impose further restrictions on where and how people would be allowed to carry concealed guns in Illinois.
The governor banned the carrying of concealed weapons at any establishment that sells alcohol, and also gave employers the power to ban concealed carry in their workplaces.
Quinn also crossed out a provision in the bill that would have prevented local governments from writing their own regulations on assault weapons.
Other changes he made include restricting concealed carry permit holders to carrying only one gun and one ammunition clip with them at a time, and a requirement that the firearm be completely concealed.
Quinn also slammed state lawmakers for passing the legislation “in a hurried way,” suggesting that they did so under pressure from National Rifle Association lobbyists.
“Today he kicked off his re-election campaign,” said Todd Vandermyde, a lobbyist for the NRA in Springfield.
Vandermyde accused Quinn of using his amendatory veto to score political points with residents of Chicago and the north suburbs, where gun regulations are embraced by local governments. Vandermyde said he does not think Quinn’s changes will get the needed support from the legislature.
“I think that what he just did is tell downstate, ‘You’re irrelevant.’ I think he just told the collar counties, ‘You’re irrelevant.’ He’s gonna play to a very narrow liberal, North Shore constituency,” Vandermyde said.
A spokeswoman for Gov. Quinn said lawmakers are expected to take up his changes to the legislation next week.
Meanwhile, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel addressed gun regulations Tuesday at a separate news conference. Last week, Emanuel proposed a measure that would ban the sale, import, transfer and possession of assault weapons and high-capacity magazines within city limits.
“We are gonna do what we can in the city council with the assault weapon ban,” Emanuel said. “But we also need Springfield to step up.”
Emanuel has been pushing for the state to impose mandatory minimum 3-year sentences for gun-related crimes.