Local lawmakers react to concealed carry veto

By Audrey Wise

July 3, 2013 Updated Jul 3, 2013 at 11:22 AM CDT

PEORIA, Ill -- On both sides of the aisle and in both chambers of the legislature, lawmakers say they aren't surprised by Governor Quinn's amendatory veto on concealed carry.

"He's playing games and he's playing politics to try to cater to his base in Chicago," said State Representative Mike Unes (R-91).

State Senator Darin Lahood (R-37) said, "I think it's indicative of his leadership style and part of the reason why we haven't been able to do other big, important things like pension reform, in terms of our debt, improving our business climate and I think he's out of touch on this issue."

Peoria Mayor Jim Ardis, a proponent of concealed carry, calls this a weak attempt by the Governor to restrict the rights of Illinois citizens.

"The Governor still can't accept the fact that the people of spoken, the legislators have spoken, the courts have spoken and he still thinks he knows better than they do," said Mayor Ardis.

The Governor made changes to nine major elements of the bill. The biggest might be the change in home-rule authority. He would like to see large municipalities be able to make their own tweaks to the law. Local lawmakers said they included a blanket law throughout the state to avoid confusion.

"Just because of which direction someone turns, they now all the sudden might be breaking the law and that's not right. We need to have one law, like 49 other states have, that shows that we accept the 2nd amendment," said Rep. Unes.

The legislature passed the measure in each house with a veto-proof majority.

State Senator Dave Koehler (D-46) said in a statement, "We have been waiting for the Governor to either sign the bill or veto it so we can override the veto. There was plenty of support from both Republicans and Democrats in both the House and Senate to override any veto."

Many lawmakers and citizens look forward to the day that Illinois becomes the last state to allow concealed carry.

"You look at the crime rate in Chicago, they've had the highest murder rate in the last two years here and crime rates go down when you pass concealed carry," said Sen. Lahood.

Rep Unes said, "Those opposed to this are going to see that it's not going to turn into the wild, wild west, that there are safeguards and provisions in place."

A vote to override the Governor's veto is scheduled for July 9th.

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