For many, concealed carry in the state of Illinois was once just a far-off fantasy. Illinois was the only state in the nation with an outright de jure ban on concealed weapons, and it had looked to continue that way until a federal court struck down the ban late last year.

The federal appeals court that made the ruling gave Illinois legislators 180 days to create a new, constitutionally acceptable law. After compromises and setbacks, the state Senate and House of Representatives forwarded a bill, House Bill 183, to the governor’s desk.

The legislation was sent to Governor Pat Quinn just days before the end of the 180-day deadline on June 9. That deadline was then extended by an additional 30 days after a request made by Attorney General Lisa Madigan. On July 2, seven days before the new deadline, Governor Quinn took an “amendatory veto” action on the bill that included several important revisions. Quinn had previously opposed the bill and the ruling by the federal court.

“My foremost duty as Governor is to keep the people of Illinois safe,” Quinn said in a press release. “This is a flawed bill with serious safety problems that must be addressed. There are too many provisions in this bill that are inspired by the National Rifle Association, not the common good. Public safety should never be compromised or negotiated away, and I urge members to uphold the common sense changes I propose today.”

The list of changes to HB 183, as reported in the governor’s press release, included:

  • Alcohol: HB 183 allows people to carry guns into establishments serving alcohol, including most family restaurants and other places where large amounts of alcohol are consumed. Mixing alcohol with guns is irresponsible and dangerous. Illinois must keep guns out of any establishment where alcohol is consumed.
  • Home-Rule: HB183 strips the authority of home-rule governments to enact future laws on assault weapons to protect their local communities. This NRA-inspired provision is not in the interest of public safety or local communities. In fact, these provisions have nothing to do with the right to carry a concealed gun and have no place in this bill. Local governments should always have the right to strengthen their own ordinances to protect the public safety of their communities.
  • Signage: Under the bill, loaded guns would be allowed in stores, restaurants, churches, children’s entertainment venues, movie theaters and other private properties, unless the owner visibly displays a sign prohibiting guns. As a matter of property rights, the legal presumption should always be that a person is not allowed to carry a concealed, loaded gun onto private property unless given express permission.
  • Employer’s Rights: As currently drafted, this bill infringes on an employer’s ability to enact policies that ensure a safe and secure work environment. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, shootings are the most frequent cause of workplace fatalities. To best ensure a safe work environment, employers should have the right to enact policies that prohibit employees from carrying guns in the workplace and in the course of performing employment-related duties.
  • Number of Guns and Ammunition: The bill provides no cap on the number of guns, or on the size or number of ammunition clips that may be carried. Instead, it allows individuals to legally carry multiple guns with unlimited rounds of ammunition, which is a public safety hazard. In the interest of common sense and the common good, it should be clarified so that a license will permit an individual to carry one concealed gun and one ammunition clip that can hold no more than 10 rounds of ammunition.
  • Mental Health Reporting: While HB 183 appropriately seeks to improve mental health reporting, as Governor Quinn called for during his State of the State address in February, the positive impact of these measures is limited by the lack of clarity in the notification process. Clarification is necessary to ensure these enhancements to mental health reporting prevent guns from falling into the wrong hands.
  • Clarification of “Concealed”: As written, the definition for “concealed firearm” includes the phrase “mostly concealed,” which would allow a licensee to walk around in public with a portion of his or her gun exposed. This is an irresponsible step towards open carry in Illinois. This insufficient provision must be clarified to ensure that when guns are carried, they are completely concealed from public view.
  • Open Meetings Act: Under the current bill, the meetings and records of the Concealed Carry Licensing Review Board are entirely exempt from the Open Meetings and Freedom of Information Acts, providing zero transparency of the meetings, budget, personnel and other aspects of this government board. Similar to the Prisoner Review Board and the Emergency Medical Services Disciplinary Review Board, the meetings and records of this board – unless otherwise exempt – should be announced, open, and available to the public.
  • Law Enforcement: As written, the bill does not require an individual to immediately disclose to a public safety officer that he or she is in possession of a concealed firearm. In order to protect the safety of our public safety officers in the line of duty, an individual’s response to questions from law enforcement about whether they are carrying a gun should always be immediate.

The changes, which once again came down days before the federal deadline, have angered many lawmakers in support of the bill and the residents they represent. The bill now returns to the state legislature where the amendments are expected to be heavily opposed. One of the bill’s key sponsors, House Representative Brandon Phelps (D-Harrisburg), filed a motion to override the amendatory veto on the same day Quinn made the changes.

Governor Quinn’s statement can be viewed below:

Image screenshot of video by GovernorQuinn on YouTube

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11 thoughts on “Illinois Governor Unilaterally Changes State Concealed Carry Bill

  1. After the 9 shooting deaths in Chicago this weekend – I know right, Quinn stated that this why he doesn’t support CC. Which just demonstrates the lack of courage with these politicians. WHO in their right mind would think that any of the shooters from this weekend would have passed a background check and qualified for conceal carry???

    Remember – Making good people helpless doesn’t make bad people harmless……

  2. Born and raised in central Illinois. Have lived in central Indiana since I graduated from college and damned glad about it! The only thing Illinois has that other states don’t is governors with a rap sheet. All readers not from Illinois need to understand is that there is Illinois north of I-80 and Illinois south of I-80. They are not the same! Quinn doesn’t want firearms where alcohol is consumed, makes sense doesn’t it? However, I can drive my car to a village pantry, buy a 6 pack, put it on the seat next to me while I drive down the interstate.

  3. Being intoxicated or under the influence of any mind altering substance and in possession of a firearm is what needs to be written. Many states do not allow carrying in areas (in places serving booze) off limits to minors, but in the family dining area it is okay. Regarding it should be assumed not allowed without posting signs? The guy is completely out of his mind. Where is the Freedom and Right to Self Defense in that thinking? How would that make anyone safer anywhere? It would place more weapons in vehicles where criminals will have a field day breaking and entering, stealing stored weapons not allowed in stores! Do these elected officials really think, or do they just . . .. never mind.

  4. Just look at the hand picked support group with the gov. At least two are packing (ya think?). He’s probably right about guns and booze not mixing tho, my gun has never asked for a drink, while in my company, at a nice restaurant that serves alcohol. What idiots these people are. I am appalled by the stupidity of politicians like Quinn and those that support them.

  5. this mighty quinn and mad madigan duo have to be almost as stupid as obama and biden if they think there kind of gun control will work. as jimmy g stated gangsters do not get and use guns by legal means and will get guns and ammunition regardless of any wild unthought up laws they come up with. these gang bangers need to learn how to shoot so they hit each other instead of innocent citizens! don’t punish the responsible gun owners and go after the thugs you moron quinn!

  6. Yes, and over the July 4th holiday in Chicago (alone) 12 people were shot and killed, and another 60 were wounded.

    Quinn is playing politics with the lives of the law abiding citizens of Illinois. All he is doing is lining up and preparing for next year’s election when he faces a pro-gun candidate.

    He has already shot down Lisa Madigan because she did not file an appeal to the US Supreme court… but it was the governor’s office that held her back from doing so. On one hand Quinn instructed her to sit tight… on the other’ he’s condemned her to fail in the upcoming elections.

    a TRUE Chicago – Illinois politician.

    The state of Illinois belongs to the people and not to the city of Chicago. The anti-gun policies of the city and state have already cost hundreds of Illinois lives last year, and this year is proving no different.

    It is time that Quinn shut up and for the state to do what is right for the citizens of Illinois and stop trying to appease their political bases.

  7. Had there been licensed concealed carry permit holders actually carrying at the time of the shootings, there very well may have been fewer deaths. Works everywhere else! Morons shouldn’t be allowed to run the government.

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