By Scott Ellingson (firstname.lastname@example.org), section editor: bloc[k] beat
This week, both sides of the gun rights debate in Illinois met defeat in the General Assembly. On Thursday night, the bill supported by gun-rights advocates and the National Rifle Association fell seven votes short the 71 votes necessary. Only the day before, gun-control advocates saw an amendment to the bill that would have given local sheriffs the ability to deny applicants at-will on the floor with only 31 supporting votes. The Governor rallied support against the bill.
Rep. Mike Bost, Republican from downstate Murphysboro, erupts on the floor to argue with Rep. Scott Drury, a Democrat from Chicago’s North Shore suburbsUncertainty meets the Illinois General Assembly in the future, with only seven weeks remaining until the June 9th deadline to create conceal and carry permit legislation. The deadline was set by a Federal Appellate court in December when it struck down the state’s previous law, which completely banned carrying concealed weapons. If the General Assembly cannot pass conceal and carry legislation by that deadline, the state law will be declared invalid and the state will revert to “constitutional carry”: where any weapon will be legal to carry without a permit almost anywhere.
The division lies between Chicago Democrats and both Democrats and Republicans from rural areas. The Chicago Democrats appear the weakest, as they supported the failed amendment this Wednesday proposed by Rep. Kelly Cassidy of the 14th district in Edgewater. The amendment would have given local authorities the ability to deny permits at-will regardless of the applicant meeting all of the legal requirements.
California, New York, and Maryland already have permit systems that work on this “may-issue” standard, whereas most states operate on the “shall-issue” standard supported the NRA and downstate legislators, where permits must be issued if the applicants meet the legal requirements. The “may-issue” standard survived a constitutional challenge this week as well, when New York State’s law that puts the burden on the applicant to prove they have a “good cause” to be issued a permit was ruled constitutional.
However, the Illinois legislature appears deadlocked, making “Constitutional Carry” appear an inevitable doomsday for gun-control proponents in Illinois. Chicago Democrats and the Governor seem unable to pass “may-issue” legislation and rural legislators are uninterested in compromising any further. Todd Vandermyde, lobbyist for the National Rifle Association, told the Associated Press this week: “I’m not sure there’s much else for us to talk about.”