By Steve Sadin
Local members of the Illinois General Assembly like what they see in Gov. Patrick Quinn’s proposed changes to the conceal carry law passed by the legislature May 31 as they prepare to deal with the governor’s amendatory veto when they reconvene Tuesday in Springfield.
State Sen. Julie Morrison (D-Deerfield), state Rep. Elaine Nekritz (D-Northbrook) and state Rep. Scott Drury (D-Highwood) like what they see in the changes Quinn has made to a bill they all voted against.
“This is a move in the right direction but it is still not perfect,” Drury said. “You can’t let perfection be the enemy of the good.”
The bill, which restricts the ability of home rule municipalities like Deerfield, Lake Forest, Highland Park, Northbrook and Buffalo Grove to regulate assault weapons, touched off a rash of action by local governments since early June.
Deerfield passed an ordinance July 1 regulating storage of assault weapons and Highland Park banned them the week before. Lake Forest began discussion July 1 and will continue it with a possible vote on a measure similar to Deerfield’s July 15.
Buffalo Grove considered a ban modeled on Cook County's legislation for the two-thirds of the Village located in Lake County at its June 17 meeting. No vote was taken at the time but the Village Board is likely to consider action July 15.
The governor’s changes to the legislation, if the legislature accepts them, will restore normal local control to home rule jurisdictions. That outcome has a number of stumbling blocks before it.
Since the legislation originated in the state House of Representatives, the bill’s sponsor can decide whether to seek an override of the veto or vote on Quinn’s proposals, according to Nekritz. “He (the sponsor) said he will go for an override so I won’t get to vote on it,” she said explaining her vote will not change.
Sixty percent of the members of the House and State Senate must vote to override Quinn’s veto to make the legislation law without the governor’s signature, according to Drury. The law passed both chambers by more than that.
When asked what she liked about the governor’s changes, Morrison put restoration of unlimited home rule rights at the top of her list.
“It restores local jurisdiction,” she said. “This is much better when it comes to guns and alcohol. (Keeping guns out of) establishments that serve alcohol is really important,” she added praising Quinn’s wish to put further restrictions on allowing firearms in places where drinks are served.
If nothing happens by the end of the day Tuesday, Illinois will have no conceal carry law and will be in violation of a federal court order requiring one to be on the books by then. “If we go beyond July 9 it will be the wild west,” she said.
Drury conceded some interpretations of a failure of the General Assembly to act altogether could allow open carrying of guns. He did not offer than opinion. He would prefer the law Illinois enacts be the one proposed by Quinn rather than the one passed by the legislature.
“We need a sensible law that keeps our community safe,” Drury said. “I don’t believe this bill does that. I think the governor’s amendatory veto comes a lot closer to doing that.”