Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Clock Ticks as Ill. House Passes Gun Bill ; Bill 'Wrong for Illinois' Answers Gov. Pat Quinn

Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Clock Ticks as Ill. House Passes Gun Bill ; Bill 'Wrong for Illinois' Answers Gov. Pat Quinn

Article excerpt

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. - Gun owners in the only state still banning concealed weapons regain that right under a plan approved by the Illinois House on Friday, but the governor and other powerful Democrats oppose the plan because it would wipe out local gun ordinances - including Chicago's ban on assault weapons. The proposal, which passed 85-30, was brokered by House Speaker Michael Madigan, a Chicago Democrat, as a way to abide by a federal appeals court's ruling that ordered the state to adopt a concealed-carry law by June 9. But the plan has drawn strong opposition, with Gov. Pat Quinn calling it a "massive overreach" because of the way it would curb local firearms regulations.

Chief among those regulations is Chicago's ban on assault-style weapons, which would be stricken from the books. That's a deal- breaker for Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who backs tough restrictions to curb gun violence in the nation's third largest city.

"This legislation is wrong for Illinois. It was wrong yesterday in committee, it's wrong today, and it's wrong for the future of public safety in our state," Quinn said in a statement after the House vote.

The legislation is being sponsored by Rep. Brandon Phelps, a Southern Illinois Democrat and ardent gun-rights supporter whose more permissive plan failed by seven votes last month.

Madigan took the rare step on the floor of describing how he had worked against that Phelps plan in April - legislation which still got double the number of votes Chicago Democrats garnered on a more restrictive measure.

"Those vote counts are very telling," Madigan said. "They tell the reason why I stand before you today, changing a position I've advocated for well over 20 years. But that's what happens in a democracy, where there's free and open debate."

He said the state needed one uniform firearms law to reduce the potential confusion for gun owners packing weapons and traveling throughout the Prairie State. …

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