Illinois concealed carry debate marches on slowly

SPRINGFIELD — Proposals to limit where Illinoisans could carry concealed guns have reached as many as 50 as Democrats continued Wednesday to push for test votes ahead of a possible comprehensive bill.

Illinois House lawmakers Wednesday shot down ideas that would limit people to concealing just one gun, require $1 million insurance policies for gun carriers and mandate reporting private gun sales to the state police.

Carrying a concealed weapon remains illegal in Illinois, but a federal court ruled the state needs to legalize it. So the Democratic-controlled Legislature is debating where carrying a gun should be allowed.

Republicans, though, continue to criticize Democrats' process of carrying out dozens of test votes instead of negotiating a comprehensive concealed carry plan.

“We continue this same sham of a process,” state Rep. Dennis Reboletti, an Elmhurst Republican, said.

The patchwork of test votes makes it unclear how — or if — lawmakers will come up with an overall proposal.

For example, state Rep. Ann Williams, a Chicago Democrat, offered a plan to keep concealed guns out of bars, not wanting “carrying of a gun in places where alcohol flows freely,” she said.

It was approved. State Rep. Ed Sullivan, a Mundelein Republican, said he supports that idea in general but would want a bar owner to be allowed to carry a gun for self-defense.

He said the disagreement over details was indicative of the test-vote process.

“We have no idea what's going on, so we have a conflict here,” Sullivan said.

Once-a-week gun debates have been going on in the House since last month and have spawned colorful rhetoric.

“I'm just a simple country boy from the suburbs,” Sullivan told a Democrat on the House floor as he asked a question.

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