Concealed Carry Bill Sent to Governor - NBC Chicago
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Concealed Carry Bill Sent to Governor

Gov. Pat Quinn has not indicated whether he'll sign legislation into law



    The Illinois Legislature has approved a gun measure that would end the last statewide ban in the nation on the concealed possession of a firearm in public.

    The 89-28 vote Friday in the Illinois House sealed a compromise that was a response to December's federal appeals court order that Illinois drop its ban by June 9. The Senate approved the deal with a 45-12 vote earlier in the afternoon.

    The legislation now goes to Gov. Pat Quinn, who has not indicated whether he'll sign it.

    The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in December that Illinois' ban on the public possession of concealed weapons is unconstitutional. All 49 other states allow concealed carry, though some have stricter regulations than others.

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    Illinois' compromise measure reflected the division between gun rights advocates across the state and gun control supporters in Chicago, which is battling a surge in gang violence and murders since last year.

    Last week, the House overwhelmingly adopted a more permissive plan 85-30. But Senate Democrats voted it down, objecting to a provision that invalidated all existing local firearms ordinances, such as Chicago's assault-weapons ban.

    The negotiated settlement approving concealed carry would allow local governments to retain their own rules. But it would block them from creating new rules for transporting guns and assault weapons restrictions.

    Sen. Kwame Raoul, a Chicago Democrat and supporter of tighter restrictions, conceded ground on carrying guns in establishments that serve alcohol. Residents would be allowed to carry guns into restaurants and other business that serve alcohol if liquor comprises no more than 50 percent of their sales.

    Chicago Democrats would have gotten all of what they requested in terms of specific gun-free zones, including mass transit buses and trains, schools, other government buildings, parks, hospitals and street festivals.

    But Rep. Brandon Phelps, a southern Illinois Democrat who sponsored the House proposal, was able to keep in a provision making automobiles a "safe harbor" -- meaning a secured gun could be kept in a car, even if it's parked in a prohibited place.