Updated: Legislators override Quinn veto on gun bill
SPRINGFIELD — Illinois lawmakers Tuesday easily overrode Gov. Pat Quinn's revisions to a long-sought bill to make the possession of concealed weapons legal in the state.
The House and Senate votes were part of a recent string of devastating setbacks for Quinn, who said later the Legislature's actions were "extremely disappointing."
Not only did both chambers quickly override his vetoes, but the House rejected three provisions — which had found bipartisan support in the Senate — inserted into a so-called "trailer bill." One would have required people stopped by police to acknowledge immediately that they were carrying a concealed weapon. Another would have mandated reporting to the state police of people adjudicated mentally ill.
Also Tuesday, lawmakers failed to meet Quinn's deadline for action on a massive pension reform proposal.
The votes on Quinn's amendatory veto of a concealed-carry bill were 77-31 in the House and 41-17 in the Senate. Every legislator from East Central Illinois, Democrat or Republican, voted to override Quinn. Nearly every legislator voting with the governor was a Chicago or suburban Democrat.
Quinn lashed out at lawmakers and the National Rifle Association following the vote.
"The fact is that the NRA went behind closed doors with legislators here to draft a law that is an NRA dream," Quinn said. "The National Rifle Association came here, and frankly I think the Legislature surrendered to them. I'm very disappointed in that result."
Quinn pledged to fight "with all the fiber of my being" to work for amendments he outlined last week. Among those were limits on the size of gun magazines, on the number of guns one could carry and an absolute ban on firearms where alcohol is served.
"To allow people to go into bars and restaurants and to have loaded, concealed weapons, indeed more than one of them, is just plain wrong," Quinn said. "I think everyone who is in law enforcement understands that that is a prescription for tragedy. It's a toxic mixture of guns and alcohol."
The governor said gun laws should ban high-capacity magazines.
"I certainly don't think those who have concealed weapons should be allowed to have multiple concealed weapons with multiple high-capacity ammunition magazines," he said. "Who in the world would want to do that other than someone committed to mass murder?"
But lawmakers said the concealed-carry measure had been negotiated throughout the spring legislative session and that it was overdue.
"It's about damn time," said state Sen. Chapin Rose, R-Mahomet. "People here were clapping because we were the 50th (state to pass concealed carry). Great."
"Governor Quinn attempted to derail months of hard work, give and take, and compromise with his amendatory veto," said Sen. Jason Barickman, R-Bloomington. "The General Assembly made a very wise move in quickly voting to override this veto and make right-to-carry the law of the land in Illinois."
Democratic Rep. Naomi Jakobsson, D-Urbana, said she could support some of Quinn's revisions, but not all of them.
"With the governor's suggestions in his amendatory veto, it's a package. You don't choose from them and say, we'll take this item and that item," she said. "There were some things in there that I would have supported. He can't pick and choose. It doesn't work that way."
Quinn sidestepped questions about whether the legislative setbacks made him appear to be a weak governor.
"I'm worried about the people of Illinois. And I always do what I think in my conscience is right for the people," he said. "I've always done that my whole life. That's what my mom and dad taught me. That's what I believe in."