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Article updated: 6/3/2013 7:09 PM

Concealed carry plan sent to Gov. Quinn has a mixed bag of rules

By Mike Riopell

SPRINGFIELD -- Individual suburbs wouldn't get to set their own rules for carrying a concealed firearm under the plan lawmakers have sent Gov. Pat Quinn.

And suburban gun owners wouldn't be allowed to carry loaded guns on public transit or in schools, parks and other places.

Cook County's so-called assault weapons ban and its $25 gun tax would stand, though. And while carrying concealed weapons would be banned in Cook County forest preserves, it would be allowed in other counties' forest preserves but not near playgrounds or in buildings.

The mixed-bag of rules comes from months-long talks that, at times, produced proposals that would have allowed Cook County to ban concealed guns while its neighboring counties could not. That was set aside in the final version approved Friday by lawmakers.

While the plan has bipartisan support, Quinn is not committed to signing it yet, a spokesman said. On Monday, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for a 30-day delay of its mandate that Illinois legalize concealed carry by Saturday, saying Quinn needs more time.

The delay until July 9 also "would help prevent a situation in which there is no state law in place governing the carrying of handguns in public," Madigan said.

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle said she is pleased with the "constitutional and negotiated legislation on the conceal and carry handgun issue."

Likewise, the Illinois State Rifle Association backs the plan even though Director Richard Pearson isn't a fan of the mass transit ban. Under the proposed new law, riders would be able to have an unloaded gun in a locked case on a bus or train.

In spite of disagreeing with some aspects of the legislation, "we're not crying in our beer, either," Pearson said.

A proposal that would have allowed larger, home-rule suburbs to put further restrictions on where people can carry guns wasn't sent to Quinn. It made mayors and some lawmakers worry that crossing town borders in the suburbs could get someone carrying a gun into trouble if each place had different rules.

"This is one thing I wouldn't touch with a 10-foot pole," Elgin Mayor David Kaptain said last month.

Still, Quinn wanted local controls in the legislation.

State Rep. Ed Sullivan, a Mundelein Republican who helped craft the plan, said if Quinn doesn't sign the bipartisan compromise it could send lawmakers back to the drawing board.

"For the governor to thumb his nose at that would be tragic," Sullivan said.

If Quinn signs off, it could mean big business for suburban gun ranges. The legislation requires 16 hours of training before someone could get a permit to carry.

"We're expecting to get a lot of members and nonmembers to sign up for our courses," said Tom Dorsch, director of operations at On Target Range and Tactical Training Center in Crystal Lake.

Training includes safety instructions and shooting fundamentals. Dorsch says his staff already teaches classes based on Florida's and Utah's concealed carry laws.

"We're happy as a range," he said. "We're happy as Americans."

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