Illinois Governor Pat Quinn has issued an amendatory veto to the Conceal and Carry legislation, House Bill 183, which passed both houses by a veto-proof majority last month.
The Illinois General Assembly passed the law allowing residents of Illinois their constitutional right to carry a concealed firearm before the June 9 deadline issued by afederal court. Even though the court gave the General Assembly and the Governor six months to pass the law, Quinn did not sign the bill, and the court issued a 30-day extension at the request of Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan.
With one week left in the extension period, Governor Quinn held a press conference Tuesday morning, telling reporters, “I have examined this particular bill over the last several weeks very carefully and there are very serious flaws… I think this is an example of a situation in Illinois where the legislature passed a bill in a hurried way at the inspiration of the NRA contrary to the safety of the people of Illinois.”
Quinn has repeatedly emphasized the need to take as much time as possible and not rush into passing this legislation, which returns a constitutionally guaranteed freedom back to the people.
While taking questions from reporters, Quinn reiterated “statistics” reported by Executive Director of the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence, Colleen Daley, earlier in the press conference:
You heard earlier about all the incidents of those with concealed permits who have committed murders, more than 500 murders, a number 24, I think it is mass killings. Police officers shot by those with conceal permits that shouldn’t have had them.
Illinois Carry Spokesperson Valinda Rowe told Breitbart News Quinn and Daley’s statements about conceal and carry permit holders are simply “outrageous, unfounded and not true.”
“The errors in the comments that the governor made this morning are astounding for a governor to make,” Rowe explained. “While he is taking his time passing this bill, how many elderly citizens have fallen victim to violent crime? How many women have been assaulted, raped or murdered, while he has taken his time, with the luxury of his own armed-security protection?”
Governor Quinn’s proposed amendments are as follows:
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.
HB 183 Sponsor State Rep. Brandon Phelps, a Democrat from Harrisburg, IL, has now filed an official motion to override the governor’s veto.