By TESA GLASS
---- — MT. VERNON — State Rep. Mike Bost said his outburst on the House Floor last week was triggered by freshman legislator Scott Drury's comments about other Republican members of the House.
"As the House Floor Leader, it's my job to protect members of my party from false accusations or broad-brushing issues," Bost said. "Concealed carry is not a Republican or a Democrat issue."While Bost later apologized to the House leader, and the bill being discussed was soundly defeated, the concealed carry issue is not done."The amendment that was added to the bill we were discussing was a 'may/may' carry bill," Bost said. "New York has a similar bill, and less than .01 percent of people get to carry. Under the amendment, someone would have to go to the local sheriff, who would do a background check, talk to people, then the sheriff may allow the person to petition the state for a concealed carry permit. Then, the state would do a background check and may issue a permit. That's two mays and makes it almost impossible to get a permit.The bill was flawed and I explained that problem."It was when Drury said there were no "Constitutional scholars" in the House and accused Repubicans of being two-faced that Bost took offense. Dury further commented, to boos from the other members of the House, that "we don't want someone like that carrying a concealed weapon.""You can't say 'our side of the aisle' on this issue, it's not about one party or the other," Bost said. "There was screaming on both sides of the aisle because he overstepped his bounds. The bill failed miserably."The final vote on the bill was 76 against and 31 in favor. Bost said when Drury made the comment to Bost, other legislators came to his defense."Even the sponsor of the bill and those in support of it instantly apologized to me," Bost said. "They said, 'that's not us.'"Bost said the debate over concealed carry is "very intense.""You have that, abortion and gay marriage are very heated personal issues," Bost said. "You have to be careful. There is nothing wrong with yelling to express yourself on the floor. But it has to be sensible."Next week, concealed carry will come up again, Bost said. "Now in the Senate is legislation that cuts out Chicago from concealed carry," Bost said. "The problem with that is sales people and truckers or people visit Chicago. They can go anywhere else in the United States and carry legally, but when they enter the city limits of Chicago, they have to determine what to do with their firearm. It will be a real problem if it passes, because I believe we will be back in the courts because there is a ruling in the U.S. Supreme Court which ruled the District of Columbia similar law was unconstitutional. A state, city or local government can't take away a Constitutional right."Bost said if the bill is sent to the House for a vote, he hasn't decided how to vote."Do I sacrifice constituents or vote on something the courts will force anyway?" Bost asked. "That's a choice I will have to make."Bost said another issue hitting close to home is the planned closure of Murray Center in Centralia."Last Friday we got word they were moving the first patients out," Bost said. "Most of us representatives in the areas with family members of those at Murray Center have been working together trying to get another resolution together."Bost said the Legislature has put money in the budget for the center, but Gov. Pat Quinn still refuses to keep the Murray Center open. "The Governor has never visited the center," Bost said. "We are still trying to do everything we can procedurally to keep it open. These are our most vulnerable citizens. It's awful what is happening. ... The Governor is a politican and fake," Bost continued. "I appreciate him showing up at veterans funerals. It's easy to show care and compassion in a situation you have no control over. In this case, he has the control. It flies in the face of sincerity on other issues. If he is so compassionate, why doesn't he just walk in the facility. If he had been there first, he may have understood the need. It's heartbreaking."