House vote on compromise gun bill to come Friday
SPRINGFIELD -- Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan says legislation allowing the carrying of concealed guns will get a vote Friday.
The Chicago Democrat emerged from a private meeting of his caucus late Wednesday afternoon saying he believes there are sufficient votes to adopt a plan.
The compromise proposal filed Wednesday would ban weapons in municipal parks and athletic areas. It also would ban firearms on public buses and trains -- a must for most Chicago Democrats fearing a slew of weaponry on public transit.
The new House plan also requires a $150 application fee, 50 percent higher than sponsoring Rep. Brandon Phelps originally wanted. Of that, $120 would go to the Illinois State Police to administer the program, $20 to support mental health reporting and $10 for the state's crime laboratories.
The legislation is similar to Phelps' original plan, which failed by seven votes in the House last month but contains key changes drafted by Madigan's staff.
Todd Vandermyde, lobbyist for the National Rifle Association in Illinois, said outside the closed-door House Democrats' caucus meeting that it was too early to comment on the plan.
The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in December that the Illinois ban on concealed weapons on public streets is unconstitutional. It gave lawmakers in the last state in the nation to prohibit it until June 9 to rectify the omission.
Gun-rights advocates nonetheless have had to fight every step of the way.
Illinois is divided on the gun issue more geographically than politically. Chicago Democrats support strong curbs on guns while in other parts of the state. Gun owners say the Second Amendment's right to keep and bear arms should be interpreted liberally.
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