The PJ Tatler

Latest from Illinois Legislature on Concealed Carry

In case you need to come up to speed, Illinois Governor Quinn vetoed legislation passed earlier that enabled concealed carry to finally come to this last holdout state. His main issues were:

  • State pre-emption. Quinn said: This bill strips the authority of Illinois home rule governments to enact future laws on assault weapons to protect their local communities.” He derided the legislature for failing to enact a statewide ban, conveniently ignoring the will of the People’s representatives on this issue. What he really wanted was each city to make its own rules, so that licensees would be arrested for committing special crimes while traveling the state.
  • Alcohol. House Bill 183 differentiated between bars (earning 51% or more of income from liquor sales) and restaurants serving alcohol. Here in Texas, bars must post “51%” signs because it’s the only way citizens know the business makes most of its income from liquor sales. The only other option is to not carry for fear of violating the law. Of course, that’s what Quinn wants: carry restricted as much as possible.
  • Limiting guns and ammunition. Quinn wanted to limit licensees to one gun, carrying no more than 10 rounds.

Essentially, Quinn used his amendatory veto power to enact the Clinton gun ban in Illinois.

As I tuned in to today’s Senate executive committee hearing, a representative from the Illinois State Police (ISP) was explaining their support of Governor Quinn’s veto to restrict carry anyplace serving alcohol, as opposed to the current bill which bans carry in bars. It seemed that ISP, like Quinn, doesn’t trust law-abiding citizens will follow the law against mixing guns and booze, as was written into House Bill 183, making it a crime to drink while carrying (DWC). They believe in passing a second law making the same behavior illegal, as if double-banning DWC will alter licensee behavior.

A representative from “moms against guns” (didn’t get the name, but the intent is clear) don’t trust citizens, either. She said: “Most people support common sense” laws like those in Quinn’s veto. But why then did the legislature pass this bill in the first place? This is a favorite anti-gun refrain: “Most people” support bans and restrictions, but the NRA terrorizes legislators into passing laws so a minority of “gun nuts” can terrorize the general population.

The phrase “mostly concealed” was also discussed. The ISP representative cited Texas law as his model for requiring guns to be “completely invisible.” He conveniently ignored that Texas passed SB 299 this year, authored by State Senator Estes and signed by Governor Perry. According to Estes’ office, this law explicitly and narrowly differentiates between inadvertent and intentional exposure. For example, if a gust of wind blows your coat open and your waistband carry is momentarily exposed, you’re more protected against charges. It narrowly clarified intent, so that CHL’s aren’t falsely accused of failure to conceal, without making it so broad that somebody brandishing unnecessarily could hide behind the new law. Illinois’ HB 183 seems modeled after the updated Texas law.

Jay Keller of the Illinois Firearms Manufacturers Association testified that all these issues had been discussed, debated, and voted on over a period of six months. He noted that HB 183 bans carrying under the influence, and that restaurants can post no carry if they choose.

Quinn also argued against the signage requirement in HB 183:

Under this bill, loaded guns would be allowed in stores, restaurants, churches, children’s entertainment venues, movie theaters and other private properties, unless the owner visibly displays a sign prohibiting guns. As written, this provision would lead to the unfair and unduly burdensome presumption that—without private property owners’ specific actions to the contrary—guns are welcome.

As a matter of property rights, the legal presumption should always be that a person is not allowed to carry a concealed, loaded gun onto private property unless given express permission.

Echoing the moms against guns bias, he assumes that most people are against guns, and used autocratic fiat to enforce his bias. However, this hasn’t been true in the other 49 carry states. Even in California, where I’ve travelled to counties with pro-issue sheriffs, I saw no “no guns” signs. In Texas, the few places in town with legal “no guns” signs have taken them down, finally realizing that:

  1. People in the habit of violating laws don’t care about laws.
  2. If they’re planning on committing a capital crime like murder, they wouldn’t care about perpetrating the relatively minor crime of unauthorized carry.
  3. Businesses were losing revenue from law-abiding licensees who were unwilling to submit themselves to the risk of fake gun-free zones.

The Illinois statute requires 16 hours of training, including “all applicable State and federal laws relating to the ownership, storage, carry, and transportation of a firearm.” In Texas, we’re responsible for knowing law and respecting that some places remain off limits. If we fail to follow the law, that behavior gets punished. Is Quinn saying the people of Illinois are somehow especially stupid and incompetent, unable to follow the laws they’ll learn during concealed carry training?

The NRA representative (sorry, didn’t get his name) mentioned that government officials have bodyguards with multiple guns and magazines, and no limits. He also noted that the size and weight of carry guns places a reasonable limit on how much a person can carry. He suggested they punish behavior when somebody is DWC, rather than penalizing every licensee because of behavior that might happen. He also noted that during the 6-month long legislative negotiations, businesses agreed to parking lot storage language when offered the alternative of accepting liability for banning a worker’s right of personal protection to and from work. He explained that signage was important because universities and churches may own property that isn’t necessarily posted as belonging to them.

Senate president John Cullerton tried to imply that the NRA “misled” him about their level of prior involvement in the legislative process, but the NRA repeatedly said they weren’t at the negotiating table, and officially remained neutral on bill. Legislators would come to them for consultation on portions of the bill. While repeating his “surprise” at how he was “misled,” Cullerton offered no evidence that any legislators were somehow in cahoots or conspiring with the NRA to taint or deflect the legislature from its obligation to represent constituents.

The Senate Executive Committed adjourned, in order for both chambers to go into session.