With a looming court-mandated deadline to pass a new concealed carry law in Illinois, lawmakers nonetheless reached an impasse Thursday when the House rejected a gun plan that had backing from the National Rifle Association.
Pushed by Harrisburg Democrat Rep. Brandon Phelps, the Sun-Times reports the bill failed on a 64-45 roll call, with four voting present. The bill needed 71 votes to pass the House.
"This could be our last chance to pass something by June 9th," Phelps said in reference to the House's summer deadline. Per a federal appeals court ruling, Illinois has until that date to pass a new concealed-carry law.
According to the State Journal-Register, the supermajority of 71 votes was need to "pre-empt the home-rule authority" of local governments to establish their own concealed-carry rules and set a single standard for the whole state.
The divide over concealed carry in Illinois has fallen largely along geographical lines, with downstate lawmakers favoring a lift on the ban, while metro Chicago-area colleagues push for tight restrictions on who can carry concealed weapons and where they can be carried.
Under the now-failed proposal, gun owners would have to undergo ten hours of training before being issued a gun permit, which would cost $100 (a portion of which would be used used to keep firearms away from the mentally ill). The Tribune reports guns would not be allowed places like bars, college campuses, child care facilities or schools, but would be allowed on buses and trains.
“The only hunting that’s happening in my neighborhood is of young men,” said Democratic Chicago Rep. Kelly Cassidy, who opposed the bill. Meanwhile, Todd Vandermyde, lobbyist for the NRA in Illinois, said concealed-carry advocates have “given enough,” according to the Journal-Register:
“I guess there are enough people that think they’re not going to vote for anything and the best thing to do is go over the cliff."
The Daily Herald reports gun rights activists note the dangerous alternative if lawmakers can't pass a concealed carry law by the June 9 deadline: Gun owners would be allowed to have a gun on them without any restrictions or prior training.
Thursday, Rep. Dennis Reboletti, an Elmhurst Republican, said, "The clock is going to run out and Illinois is going to go kicking and screaming and dragging into constitutional compliance one way or the other."