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Illinois Concealed Carry Restrictions: GOP Blasts House Gun Vote Process As 'Political Stunt'

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ILLINOIS CONCEALED CARRY RESTRICTIONS
Illinois Speaker of the House Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, argues concealed carry legislation while on the House floor during session at the Illinois State Capitol Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013, in Springfield Ill. (AP Photo/Seth Perlman) | AP

In a marathon of a debate Tuesday, the Illinois House combed through various restrictions to a bill that would finally allow the concealed carry of weapons in the state.

The seven hour-long debate — described by the Northwest Indiana Times as "part of a seldom-used process set up by House Speaker Michael Madigan" — was decried by the state GOP as move to pigeonhole conservative lawmakers into taking controversial positions that could be hurt them in their next campaigns.

"This is a political stunt," Elmhurst Republican Rep. Dennis Reboletti said, according to the Chicago Tribune. "It demeans this process."

Among the aforementioned lawmakers might just be state Rep. Jim Sacia, a Pecatonica Republican, who compared harsher gun laws to castration, the Rockford Register-Star reports:

"You folks in Chicago want me to get castrated because your families are having too many kids. It spells out exactly what’s happening here," Sacia said Tuesday. "You want us to get rid of guns."

Typically, such debates are hashed out in committee or behind closed doors; Instead, Madigan's process forced lawmakers to make up-or-down votes on the laundry list of amendments to the largely empty bill.

CBS Chicago reports the House started with 27 separate amendments dealing with concealed carry, most of which were restrictions to where residents can actually carry their firearms.

The House voted in favor of amendments to keep concealed weapons banned in or around such areas as schools, child-care centers, casinos, government buildings, stadiums and arenas, reports the Sun-Times.

Chicago Democrat Deb Mell sponsored another amendment — which was approved — that would ban concealed carry on mass transit like the Chicago Transit Authority, Metra and Pace.

The Times notes the "in and around" part means, in many cases, the ban would include the parking lots and adjacent property to the banned facilities — "meaning firearms can't be stored in cars while gun-owners go inside."

In December, a federal appeals court in Illinois struck down the state's ban on carrying concealed firearms and gave the state 180 days to craft a law regulating the carrying of weapons.

Though it's unclear if any of the limitations voted on Tuesday will survive the legislative process, the State Journal-Register reports lawmakers have until June to devise the new law.

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