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Editorial: Illinois concealed-carry law needs amendatory veto from Quinn

Illinois Gov. PQuinn

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn

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Updated: July 12, 2013 6:20AM

The bill permitting the concealed carrying of weapons that passed in the closing days of the Illinois General Assembly spring session includes provisions that create a bad legislative precedent and public safety risks. Although the bill sailed through by wide margins, Gov. Pat Quinn should employ an amendatory veto to try to eliminate the bill’s worst parts. He should also revise his call for a June 19 special session, now set to deal only with pensions, so the Legislature can act on concealed carry as well.

As now written, the bill preempts county and municipal governments from putting stronger limits on concealed carry than the state law would. But it also goes beyond that to preempt other gun laws that have nothing to do with concealed carry. Local governments would have only 10 days to ban assault weapons within their borders, for example, and then the window would close. Often, governments don’t act until they have a problem. But if the problem becomes obvious after 11 days, the governments could do nothing. How does that make sense?

Another provision creates a seven-member special board that can hand out concealed-carry permits even if local police object. But the new board won’t have to abide by the Open Meetings Act and won’t be subject to the Freedom of Information Act. If this measure stays in the bill, you can bet other boards will be clamoring for similar exemptions.

A separate board to study consolidation of the Firearm Owner’s Identification Cards and concealed-carry cards has guaranteed representation for the National Rifle Association, which isn’t even an Illinois group. Why isn’t there guaranteed representation for victims of gun violence?

Many Downstate officials are eager for concealed carry. The Madison County state’s attorney announced Thursday he will start letting citizens carry concealed weapons now without waiting for a state law. The Clinton County sheriff said his department will start honoring other jurisdictions’ concealed-carry laws, even though Illinois’ ban is still on the books.

It’s a different story in the Chicago area, where gun violence is a daily threat. We need the safest bill possible, which is why Quinn should try to edit out this one’s worst features.

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