Governor Vows To Stop House Gun Bill

May 24, 2013

Rep. Bradon Phelps, standing at left, listens to Rep. Jerry Costello, right, debating concealed-carry legislation in the Illinois House of Representatives.
Credit Chris Slaby/WUIS

The Illinois House on Friday approved legislation that would let Illinoisans carry concealed firearms. But Gov. Pat Quinn says he'll work to "stop it in its tracks."

The measure is being touted as a compromise by its sponsor, Rep. Brandon Phelps, D-Harrisburg.

"As we all know, after years of debating this issue, it is incredibly difficult, if not darn-near impossible, to come to a middle ground on this issue," Phelps said. "Every legislator on this floor has a different opinion when it comes to concealed-carry policy."

In order to appeal to lawmakers who favor tighter gun-control, the legislation would prohibit carrying weapons in places like schools, sports arenas, bars, and on public transportation.

Although the NRA is officially neutral on this proposal, opponents of concealed carry say the legislation was written to please gun-rights supporters.

The measure not only creates a system for concealed-carry -- it would wipe away all local gun laws in counties, cities, and towns across Illinois, even those that have nothing to do with concealed carry.

During debate, Rep. Ed Sullivan, R-Mundelein, asked questions about that, focusing on Cook County.

"Currently there's an assault weapons ban that will be declared null and void," Sullivan said.

"Yes," Phelps replied.

"There is a Cook County sin tax — money or tax on all guns — is that correct? That'll be declared null and void?"

"Yes. Anything to do with firearms."

The legislation passed by a wide margin, 85-30, but it's opposed by Gov. Quinn and Senate President John Cullerton. Cullerton says the elimination of local control is "offensive," and so broad it could block towns even from enforcing zoning laws against gun shops.

Both Cullerton and Quinn say they'll do what they can to stop the proposal.

A federal court says Illinois has until June 9th to pass some sort of law allowing people to carry guns in public.