* A vote yesterday represented a gigantic defeat for gun control advocates…
The Illinois House on Wednesday overwhelmingly rejected a strict concealed carry measure in a test vote on the contentious gun legislation.
The measure emerged in the form of an amendment modeled after a highly restrictive New York gun law that has survived a court challenge. It drew support from a number of gun control advocates but failed on a 76-31 roll call, with six lawmakers voting present.
The state’s regional differences were on full display as fellow Democrats who control the legislature argued for and against the proposal.
“More guns are not the answer to the city’s gun violence problem,” said Rep. Kelly Cassidy, a North Side Democrat who sponsored the amendment.
But Rep. Brandon Phelps, a Democrat from Harrisburg in southern Illinois, called on lawmakers to reject the Cassidy bill and throw support to a less-restrictive proposal he is pushing.
Phelps said he is working on revisions to his concealed-carry bill, including raising the fee to $100. He said Wednesday’s vote shows a “may issue” bill cannot pass in Illinois.
He’s probably right.
* Things got tense…
Tempers raged in the Illinois House Thursday as lawmakers debated a last-minute plan to have the state adopt “may issue” concealed carry permits.
“All of this nonsense and two-facedness from the other side of the aisle,” Democratic state Rep. Scott Drury declared after listening to Republicans argue against a plan to let the state and local police decide if someone should be allowed to carry a gun. “It’s nonsense.”
That touched off a torrent of yelling and screaming from Republicans, most notably state Rep. Mike Bost, R-Murphysboro, an adamant gun rights supporter.
To which Drury added “We don’t want someone like that carrying a concealed weapon.”
House Republicans then bellowed out a chorus of boos and catcalls.
The scene bordered on getting out of control. State Rep. Al Riley, D-Hazel Crest, who was moderating the floor debate, threatened to call in House doorkeepers to clear the chamber or restore order.
* I thought Rep. Al Riley did a pretty good job of making sure the argument didn’t spiral out of control. Video from our good friends at BlueRoomStream.com…
* And the proposal was seriously flawed…
However, gun-rights advocates argued that a “may issue” law would essentially mean no concealed carry for people living in some parts of Illinois, despite their Second Amendment rights. Rep. Jerry Costello II, D-Smithton, said that in New York, less than one-tenth of 1 percent of residents have concealed-carry permits. Many of those have been issued to celebrities and people of authority.
“We don’t need bureaucrats issuing these permits to their friends and such,” Costello said.
Rep. Brandon Phelps, D-Harrisburg, a proponent of a “must issue” bill, said Cassidy’s amendment was opposed by the Illinois Sheriff’s Association and did not restrict the fees that could be imposed for a concealed-carry permit.
“These are unlimited fees. This could be $1,000 a permit,” he said.
* Also, Rep. Phelps’ bill may come up for a vote today. From ISRA…
URGENT ALERT – YOUR IMMEDIATE ACTION REQUIRED
ISRA-SUPPORTED HB 0997 COMING UP FOR A VOTE SOON
HB 0997, the ISRA supported version of Concealed Carry will be coming up for a vote at any time. It is urgently important that you take action immediately.
* More from Rep. Phelps…
He said he plans to call legislation for a floor vote tomorrow that is similar to House Bill 997, a concealed carry bill he introduced earlier this legislative session. “We’ve got to have something done,” he said, citing the June deadline a federal court gave lawmakers to pass concealed carry. If there is no law regulating carry when that deadline hits, the court could opt to allow what many are calling constitutional carry, which would let anyone with a Firearm Owners Identification Card carry a gun anywhere in the state. […]
Phelps said he has worked compromise into his legislation, which was being drafted late tonight. Under his previous proposal, the state police would issue concealed carry licenses, but sheriffs could contest applications. Phelps said he also plans to give that option to Chicago city police. Phelps said he also plans to increase the fee for licenses from the $25 fee in his first iteration of the plan to $100 and call for $30 from each license to go to a special fund dedicated to repairing the state’s troubled FOID card system and ensuring that county mental health records are reported to the state police. He said training requirements would also be increased from four hours in the original bill to 10 hours and would include a live ammunition test. “We’re offering a lot of things,” he said. “This version of what we’re going to try to run tomorrow is a combination of about four bills that we have had in the time that I have been here.”
Phelps said supporters of his plan believe it is a “last chance” to get a compromise before the deadline runs out. “I don’t know if there’s another chance to pass anything. I think that there’s a lot of people who are going to say, ‘Look, we tried. Let’s just go off the cliff. Let’s do constitutional carry.’” He said a lot of House members who have never voted in favor of a concealed-carry bill are afraid of that happening. “I’ve got a lot of people who are interested in voting for this that never have before because they don’t want constitutional carry.”
But gun control advocates cautioned not to read too much into today’s vote. They said they knew the support wasn’t there yet, but they think they can find backing for a bill that allows Chicago some local control. While lawmakers must get something done, they say, it isn’t crunch time yet.
* Tempers flare during state House debate on concealed weapons bill
* VIDEO: Brandon Phelps wants to stop a may issue concealed carry plan
* VIDEO: Roll call
* Final House roll call