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Conceal carry becomes law in Illinois, despite governor’s veto

By Rex Robinson | 7/10/2013, 7:42 a.m.
With Gov. Pat Quinn’s amendatory veto having been overridden by Illinois lawmakers, House Bill 183 immediately took effect and Illinois ...
Fred Lutger, owner of Freddie Bear Sports in Tinley Park, has been in business for 35 years and said he is glad Illinois finally has a sensible concealed carry law. Photo By Rex Robinson

Gov. Pat Quinn’s amendatory veto was overridden by state lawmakers Tuesday and Illinois is now the 50th state to allow some form of concealed carry.

The General Assembly faced a July 9 federal court deadline to enact the right-to-carry legislation. While republicans saw the override of Quinn’s amendatory veto as a political victory, democrats viewed it more as getting a law in place just in time to meet the deadline.

With the override of Quinn’s amendatory veto, House Bill 183 immediately took effect. The bill prohibits carrying a firearm while under the influence of drugs or alcohol and outlines strict penalties for those who are found to be under the influence. It also contains strong mental health standards and reporting procedures.

A sign along 191st Street in front of the Frankfort Sportsman Club in unincorporated Will County reminds gun owners to register to legally conceal and carry a firearm.

A sign along 191st Street in front of the Frankfort Sportsman Club in unincorporated Will County reminds gun owners to register to legally conceal and carry a firearm.

The new conceal carry law also requires extensive training for those who receive permits and containing clear prohibitions on carrying a concealed firearm in schools, hospitals, government buildings, airports, sports stadiums and a number of other locations.

“We needed to pass a concealed-carry law for two important reasons: to comply with a federal court mandate, and to ensure we have a statewide set of reasonable rules,” state Sen. Pat McGuire (D-Joliet) said.

McGuire emphasized the need to pass reasonable gun safety measures prior to the federal court’s deadline, which was today, but also expressed interest in continuing to explore the issue of gun safety in Illinois.

“If time shows this new law warrants improvement, we can consider improving it through future legislative action,” McGuire said.

Although McGuire chose to vote to override a majority of the governor’s proposed changes to the concealed carry measure, he did support three common-sense modifications to the legislation, which passed the Senate in a separate bill. These include the Duty to Inform, requiring a permit holder to immediately disclose to police that he or she is carrying; Mental Health Reporting – providing that law enforcement and school officials reporting clear and present danger need only to report directly to Illinois State Police; and No Signage for Per Se Prohibited Places – Locations that are listed as prohibited places (including schools, parks and government buildings) will not be required to post signs indicating that firearms are not allowed on the property.

The House also voted to override the governor’s amendatory veto but then failed to pass the three changes approved by the Senate, McGuire said. Therefore, he added, the original concealed carry measure passed by the General Assembly in May is now law.

State Sen. Christine Radogno (R-Lemont) has a different view on the issue.

“The override of the Governor’s changes was widely supported, which I think speaks volumes about the hard work that was put into negotiating House Bill 183,” Radogno said. “This was a very, very difficult issue. Illinois is a large, extremely diverse state and people genuinely disagree on how concealed carry should be handled. However, I think the bill respects Second Amendment rights, while also setting forth some very reasonable restrictions.”

The U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals had given the state until July 9 to either adopt legislation or face the possibility of having no restrictions on concealed carry whatsoever. Quinn announced his changes to the bill a week ago. Radogno said that by lumping all his changes in an amendatory veto, the governor forced lawmakers to take an “all or nothing” approach to his recommendations, because his proposed changes could not be separated and voted on independently.

Fred Lutger, owner of Freddie Bear Sports in Tinley Park, has been in business for 35 years and has many customers who visit his shop from throughout Will County. He said he was glad to finally see responsible concealed carry legislation passed in Illinois. The new law, he said, not only gives everyone the right to protect themselves and their family members, but also mandates responsible gun ownership and use. That, he added, is essential.

“Anyone who carries a concealed weapon also carries a lot of responsibility,” Lutger said.