Governor Quinn to amend 'flawed' concealed carry bill

July 2, 2013 (CHICAGO)

Lawmakers are expected to head back to Springfield next week to review the changes Governor Quinn made to the legislation Tuesday.

His critics are asking why the governor, knowing there's a deadline, took so long to announce his opposition to some of the bill's basic elements. He says he needed time to study the measure line by line.

"When you allow for a weapon, a loaded weapon, to be concealed on a person we better make sure that is done in a proper way," Quinn said.

Surrounded by gun control activists, the governor listed changes he wants made in the concealed carry bill. They include no guns in bars, more local control and a limit on the number of firearms and the size of ammunition clips a person may carry.

"How ridiculous is it to tell someone you can carry as many guns as you can fit in your pocket or around your waist," said Fr. Michael Pfleger, St. Sabina Church.

"This bill passed by the General Assembly does not enhance public safety," Quinn said. "It endangers and jeopardizes people."

Gun rights advocates predict the governor's changes will be overridden by the Illinois House and Senate, where in many both chambers passed the concealed carry bill with super-majorities.

Colleen Lawson is one of the plaintiffs in the Supreme Court case that overturned Chicago's handgun ban. Her definition of common sense, she says, is quite different than the governor's.

"Common sense to me is that if I'm on the street and I'm a criminal and I know that nobody around me is legally able to stop me from committing a crime," she said. "Common sense to me is it's a picnic and I can do what I like.

"I don't think that Quinn has any chance. As a matter of fact I see this move (Tuesday), this press conference as a career ender."

The governor's democratic primary election opponent Bill Daley criticized what he called Quinn's "amendatory veto stunt". He says the governor should have recommended changes last spring as lawmakers debated the bill.

And Daley's campaign released an endorsement video featuring New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the billionaire gun control champion.

"If somebody from another state has an opinion, that's their opinion," Quinn said. "My job is to fight for the 13 million people of Illinois every day."

"It's hard to find a candidate that will come out any stronger than Governor Quinn did (Tuesday)," said gun control advocate Rev. Ira Acree.

The concealed carry bill passed both the House and Senate with veto-proof majorities, so the odds are against the governor's changes. Beyond that there are other issues like concealed carry background checks.

"What do you think is going to happen? We're not going to be able to analyze and of those names, none," said Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart.

Three-hundred-thousand plus people statewide are expected to apply for permits. State police will do the baseline background checks, but local jurisdictions can do deeper checks. That, the Cook County Sheriff says, is a façade.

"We have no time to look into it," he said. "We have no money to do it, and somehow we're going to feel safer because of this. I don't see that."

The concealed carry bill's downstate sponsor, Representative Brandon Phelps, has already filed a motion to override the governor changes.

Phelps described himself as "disgusted," saying the governor overstepped his bounds and accused Quinn of "pandering" to Chicago voters.

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