Gov. Pat Quinn will make a public appearance Tuesday in Chicago to take action on a bill that would allow Illinoisans to carry guns in public.
The fact that he's holding the event in Chicago probably means he'll veto the bill or use his amendatory veto powers to rewrite the bill, making it more stringent. Opposition to a concealed-carry bill is centered in crime-weary Chicago, while support for such a bill has flourished downstate.
Quinn, a gun-control advocate, has not said publicly what he'll do with the bill, but insiders expect him to issue some type of veto. During an appearance Sunday on a Chicago television station, he said carrying a gun in public is "a prescription for danger," and added that he's "never, ever been excited about this idea" of concealed-carry of weapons.
Illinois faces a July 9 deadline to legalize carrying of weapons in public after a federal appeals court found Illinois' ban unconstitutional.
This spring, the legislature approved a concealed-carry compromise bill, outlining rules for who can get a concealed-carry permit and where a gun can be carried.
One of the architects of the bill, Rep. Jerry Costello II, D-Smithton, said he expects Quinn to issue some type of veto "for political reasons." Costello last week said a veto by Quinn would "only demonstrate his disregard for the constitution and the democratic process in general."
Another author of the bill, Rep. Brandon Phelps, D-Harrisburg, on Monday told the Chicago Tribune he expects Quinn to make a number of changes to the bill, making it more strict. For example, Quinn might change the bill to prohibit carrying guns in establishments that sell any alcohol at all. Currently, the bill prohibits carrying in establishments where alcohol accounts for a majority of sales.
The governor also could transpose a section of the bill that prohibits carrying guns inside businesses that post no-guns-allowed signs, making it permissible to carry guns only in places that post signs saying it is OK to carry a gun.
Phelps said Quinn is trying to appease Chicago voters as he prepares for a re-election bid.
"He's simply playing politics with this, that's all he's doing," Phelps said. "It's a double standard. What kind of message is he sending when he walks around with armed security guards but he won't let people exercise their constitutional right to protect themselves or their family?"
Phelps said the House and Senate probably can put enough votes on the bill to override a veto.
Experts argue about what happens if Illinois doesn't have laws in place by the deadline. Gun-rights advocates say it would mean any gun could be carried anywhere. Others say it would allow local municipalities to adopt carry laws.
Quinn's event Tuesday is scheduled for 11 a.m. at the James R. Thompson Center in Chicago. ___