Gov. Pat Quinn said Monday that he doesn't feel pressure to act quickly on whether to sign a concealed carry bill, even as lawmakers from his own party have pleaded for him to hurry up before a court-ordered deadline next month.
Lawmakers sent the Chicago Democrat a bill outlining rules for who can carry after a federal appeals court ruled Illinois' last-in-the-nation concealed carry ban unconstitutional. The state has until July 9 to come up with a plan. Quinn hasn't indicated what he'll do.
"That's a very complex bill. It's a very long bill. I'm analyzing every single part of it. My mission is to protect the safety of people of Illinois, all 13 million people," he told reporters Monday after an event touting a proposed Illiana Expressway. "Politicians can wait. I'll have a decision within a very reasonable period of time."
Last week, nearly two dozen Democratic senators asked Quinn to act quickly so they have time to deal with a veto or amendatory veto, saying the consequences could mean a "public safety and constitutional crisis."
The lawmakers included Senate President John Cullerton. The letter didn't advocate that Quinn sign or reject the legislation. It did point out, though, that authorities in a dozen counties are already refusing to prosecute those who carry concealed weapons.
In the past, Quinn has advocated for allowing larger municipalities to adopt their own restrictions in the name of "local control."
The proposed legislation says any Illinois resident with a Firearm Owners' Identification card can get a concealed carry permit after passing a background check, undergoing lengthy training and paying a fee. Law enforcement agencies can object to an application by notifying a governor-appointed review board.
What happens if no law is enacted by July 9 has been debated.
Gun-rights advocates say allowing the deadline to pass with no law would mean any gun could be carried anywhere. Others insist it would allow local municipalities to adopt highly restrictive carry laws.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Supreme Court has given Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan until July 22 to decide if she wants to appeal the court order. The extension was granted last week, but Madigan hasn't said what she plans to do.