Calling it a "flawed bill with serious safety problems," Gov. Pat Quinn changed a concealed carry measure Tuesday to impose a one-gun limit on the number of firearms that a person can carry and ban them entirely from establishments where alcohol is served.
The Democratic governor used his amendatory veto power to tweak the legislation sent to him after months of debate and negotiation over the measure.
The move puts Illinois legislators on the spot to decide whether to reject Quinn's changes before a federal judge's July 9 deadline for Illinois to adopt a concealed carry law. Some have vowed to seek an override of Quinn's changes, a move that would require a three-fifths majority in both chambers, noting the original bill had the required votes to do it.
Quinn made clear he doesn't agree with the December ruling by the 7th U.S. Circuit Appeals Court that it is unconstitutional for Illinois to prohibit the public possession of concealed firearms.
"This is a flawed bill with serious safety problems that must be addressed," Quinn said in a news release. "I am compelled to use my constitutional authority to rectify several specific issues, to establish a better law to protect the people of Illinois."
The legislation allows qualified gun owners who pass background checks and undergo 16 hours of training to get carry permits for $150.
The language Quinn added would prevent gun owners from taking their weapons into any establishment that serves alcohol, including restaurants whose liquor sales amount to less than half of their gross sales. That's a provision gun owners would not bend on in legislative negotiations.
Quinn pointed out the bill would allow people to carry more than one gun with unlimited numbers of ammunition rounds, which he called a "public safety hazard." He rewrote it to limit gun owners to carrying one loaded, concealed gun with an ammunition clip holding no more than 10 rounds.
The governor also removed a provision that requires communities wanting to ban semi-automatic assault-style weapons to do so within 10 days after the legislation takes effect, saying communities should maintain local control over guns not covered by the concealed carry law.
He called for clarifying language to make sure the Illinois State Police get the mental health records they need to determine whether a permit applicant could be a threat to himself or others. He objected to language requiring a gun to be "mostly concealed," saying it would lead to a law allowing guns to be carried on the hip, in the open, and causing "fear and confusion among the public."
He said a board considering appeals of denied permits should not be allowed to operate in secret, out of the public's eye, and said gun-toting citizens should be required to notify police, when asked, that they're carrying.