The Illinois House defeated a concealed weapons proposal favored by gun rights advocates Thursday night, a rejection that could spur negotiations toward finding common ground with lawmakers who want more restrictions.
The legislation represented a signature showdown in the critical gun debate that is in the spotlight this spring because a federal appeals court has set an early June deadline for Illinois to put in place a law allowing concealed weapons to be carried in public.
The proposal debated Thursday would have allowed guns on mass transit buses and trains but not in taverns, schools, casinos, stadiums, child care facilities, universities and government buildings, including courthouses, police stations and the Capitol.
Rep. Brandon Phelps, the legislature’s leading concealed carry advocate, challenged his colleagues to vote for what he viewed as reasonable parameters on where people could carry guns in public, who is allowed to carry, who decides whether a person is eligible and how much training should be required.
* This was a major defeat for the NRA…
Thursday’s outcome represented a setback for gun-rights advocates because the vote total in support actually was less than during two previous tries. In May 2011, an earlier version also needing 71 votes to pass the House failed by a 65-32 vote. And in February, during a test vote, another version drew a 67-48 roll call.
The vote follows Wednesday’s defeat of a concealed-carry bill drafted by gun-control advocates and sponsored by Cassidy that would have made it far more difficult for gun owners to get concealed-carry permits . Patterned after a restrictive New York concealed-carry law upheld this week by the U.S. Supreme Court, Cassidy’s legislation failed by a 31-76 vote in the House, with six voting present. [Emphasis added.]
* So, it’s either back to the bargaining table or the NRA will decide to wait things out and let the appellate court knock down Illinois’ UUW laws come June 9th. The NRA’s Todd Vandermyde spoke to reporters last night. Here’s the transcript via the Sun-Times’ Zach Buchheit…
Q: What’s the next step?
A: “I don’t know. Right now, we’re going to have to step back and see what the roll call looked like. We had more people telling us that they were inclined to vote for this version with some changes that there were. Obviously, we made movements, and I don’t know what else to say.”
Q: What else can you give?
A: “We’re going to stick to ’shall issue.’ We’re going to stick to the preemption clause. Chicago’s not going to get their own permitting system. You know, I don’t know. I guess there are enough people that think they’re not going to vote for anything and that the best thing to do is to go over the cliff.”
“A lot of us were drug kicking and screaming to some of the changes, but the object was to pass a bill. And it was to pass a good bill. And so we made an end run at it, but it seems no matter how far we negotiate and we move, it never seems to be enough for certain people. So I’m not sure if there’s much left for us to talk about. We’ve proved that we can kill a bad bill, and if the Senate offers up bad language, we’ll do the same thing we did here in the House. We’ll kill it because I don’t think it does Rep. Phelps or any other hardcore supporter to go back home saying that they got a quarter of a loaf instead of a whole loaf.”
Q: What happens on June 9?
A: “If nothing happens, the likelihood is that we’re going to have a court injunction. And if you’ve got a valid FOID card, you’re going to be able to carry a firearm in this state. The court won’t write a carry law. They have a very specific purpose, and that is to find the UUW statute in the state of Illinois unconstitutional and issue an injunction against the state’s enforcement of that law. That’s the court’s role in this. Then you might see some municipalities try to do their own thing but they are likely to face the same hurdles that the state has.”
* Most legislators love nothing more than kicking the can down the road. I’m not sure that many of the anti-gun types have yet fully come to the realization what could happen on June 9th…
Rep. Will Davis (D-Homewood) took that point a step farther, predicting the bill would worsen violent crime in the city and across the state.
“I just think this is going way too far, way too far. And I hate to say it, but I think this will actually get worse in our state before it gets better,” he said.
Nowhere has it been shown that violent crime increases after concealed carry laws are passed. I wish opponents would start arguing facts instead of emotion here. The liberals are guilty of doing precisely what they constantly accuse conservatives of doing on things like climate change.
* And I also wish the proponents would stop with the ridiculously over the top rhetoric…
“Chicago’s not an island. It’s only an island because it’s been a terrible, crime-ridden, gang-banging city for so long,” said state Rep. David Reis, R-Willow Hill.
The House rejected a measure that would have required the state’s pension systems to refrain from investing in gun-manufacturing companies. The bill failed 46-69.
That’s pretty much where the gun votes are right now. Both sides have enough votes to block what the other side wants. So, either we’ll get a negotiated solution, or it’ll stalemate. It’s likely that the Democratic leaders will try to ram something through that neither side will love. We’ll see.