Mt. Vernon Register-News

State News

February 27, 2013

House adds Phelps gun-carry bill as amendment

(Continued)

"You're spray-painting red circles around all these places, and at the end of the day, the whole state is going to be red and you won't be able to carry a gun anywhere," Phelps said.

As the day dragged on, the approach faced a series of setbacks. The House rejected successive amendments banning guns from colleges, establishments that sell alcohol, and public gatherings or rallies.

Democrats soon withdrew 12 amendments, including requirements for 40 hours of firearms training in classrooms and the field; carrying $1 million in liability insurance; and for a psychological fitness examination, moving straight to the Phelps amendment, which is language taken as a whole from a separate concealed-carry bill he's introduced, but didn't get a hearing Tuesday.

Phelps would make Illinois a "shall issue" state, meaning authorities would have to grant a carry permit to anyone who meets minimum guidelines. Gun-rights supporters prefer that to a "may issue" process in which local police can choose not to issue permits.

"A bureaucrat should not dictate who gets or who does not get a permit, like they do in New York," Phelps said. "In New York, you have to be a celebrity, a political donor or a friend of the mayor, for example, to get a permit."

Lawmakers did not say where the effort goes from here, and when there might be a vote on the package. A spokesman said Madigan's "weekly order of business" process would start Tuesday but would probably continue during ensuing weeks of the legislative session.

Minority Republicans interrupted the schedule twice early in the day with lengthy private caucus meetings and stormy public protests about a procedure they said makes no sense when the state continues to face a $96 billion pension-system deficit and $9 billion in unpaid bills.

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