The last U.S. state with a ban on concealed weapons is about to flip: Illinois's General Assembly voted on Tuesday to override Gov. Pat Quinn's partial veto of a compromise bill legalizing concealed carry in the state.
Legislators were working on deadline: today is the day the state must approve regulations on concealed weapons, after a federal court ruled in December that Illinois's ban on concealed weapons is unconstitutional. As the Associated Press explains, Quinn tried to add some tweaks to the bill that would have, among other things, banned concealed weapons from all restaurants with liquor licences. His veto also suggested limiting the number of concealed weapons per person to one at a time. But the General Assembly liked their compromise bill the way it was, so those additional regulations were left out.
That's partially because of standing tension between Quinn, seen as a Chicago-focused politician, and the representatives from outside of the metro area. Chicago has and wants stronger gun control provisions than those advocated by many other state politicians. That's partially because of the endemic violence in the city: over the holiday weekend, the city had its 200th homicide of the year. That divide seemingly trumps party loyalty in the state. Quinn, a Democrat, was facing opposition for a Democratically-controlled state legislature, and it wasn't pretty. Last week, the governor called the legislators “mouthpieces for the NRA,” while Rep. Brandon Phelps, a southern Illinois Democrat, dismissed Quinn's amendments to the bill as an attempt to "pander to Cook County."
But the relatively permissive law, which won't go into effect for a few months, does come with some regulations. Gun owners will have to pass a background check and undergo 16 hours of gun safety training before being allowed to pay $150 for a concealed carry permit from the Illinois State Police. The concealed weapons are banned in schools, libraries, parks and on most public transportation. There's also a state Senate bill working its way through the legislature that would incorporate some of Quinn's amendments, according to the Chicago Tribune:
The measure, awaiting a House vote, would require people stopped by law enforcement to immediately declare they were possessing a concealed firearm. It also would not require signage in most public places where firearms are prohibited, including schools, mass transit and government buildings. The bill also would require reporting of people adjudicated as mentally ill to the Illinois State Police, which is in charge of licensing concealed firearms.
Officials now have six months to set up a system for accepting permit applications.