Illinois Governor Sends Lax Gun Bill Back To Lawmakers With His Own Tougher Provisions

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn (Credit: ASsociated Press)

Critical of lax provisions in a concealed carry bill passed by the Illinois legislature, Gov. Pat Quinn sent the law back to lawmakers and added his own, more stringent measures to prevent gun violence.

In a press conference announcing the revisions, Quinn scolded lawmakers for passing the bill “in a hurried way at the inspiration of [the] National Rifle Association, contrary to the safety of the people of Illinois.” He used his amendatory veto powers to make significant changes to the legislation, which include limits to where concealed weapons are permitted. But lawmakers must nonetheless approve of Quinn’s changes. And with a veto-proof majority, the Chicago Tribune reports that lawmakers could opt to pass no bill at all.

This may present particular problems for the state, whose total ban on concealed carry was invalidated by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in December. The court gave the state until July 9 to pass a new law that allows for some concealed carry.

But Gov. Quinn says the existing bill sent to his desk goes well too far in the other direction, with no limits on the numbers of guns or rounds of ammunition. Quinn’s changes delineate that people with concealed carry permits can only carry one concealed weapon containing only 10 rounds of ammunition. He also tightened language in the law, requiring guns to be “completely” concealed, not just “partially,” and prohibited concealed weapons in locations that sell alcohol, such as bars and restaurants that serve alcohol.

In a letter to the Illinois House of Representatives, Quinn wrote that the changes are meant to help curb gun violence and promote public safety, criticizing the original legislation for being too lax.

I have carefully reviewed every part of this legislation. This is a flawed bill with serious safety problems that must be addressed. Therefore, I am compelled to use my constitutional authority to rectify several specific issues, to establish a better law to protect the people of Illinois.

Quinn has been critical of the bill since it passed the state legislature May 31. While legislators compromised and retained assault weapons bans in Chicago and Cook County and included a ban on concealed carry on public transit, Quinn’s changes go much further in promoting gun control and ensuring public safety.

Other changes by Quinn give individuals and local governments more jurisdiction enforcing the law. Employers can ban concealed carry in their workplaces if they choose, and business owners must display a sign giving people express permission to carry a concealed gun into their facility. Quinn also removed a provision in the bill that would have prevented local governments from enacting a ban on assault weapons.

Marina Fang is an intern for ThinkProgress.