Political considerations seem to be behind Gov. Pat Quinn's amendatory veto of the concealed carry bill. The Legislature should override his veto.
Gov. Pat Quinn came late to the party Tuesday and inserted himself into the concealed carry issue with a last-minute rewriting of a bill that would make Illinois the last state nationwide to allow the concealed carry of guns.
Coming as it does just a week before a court-ordered deadline to come up with a concealed carry plan, the governor's action appears to be motivated more by politics than policy and could cause major problems if the expected override does not materialize.
At a press conference Tuesday in Chicago surrounded by political supporters and relatives of victims of shooting violence, the governor said the bill was rushed by the Legislature and unduly influenced by the National Rifle Association.
Facing a tough primary challenge in his bid for re-election next year, the Chicago native tried to score political points in his stronghold by taking action he surely knows has little chance of succeeding. In order to approve Quinn's changes, both houses of the Legislature have to agree to the total amendatory veto, an extremely unlikely outcome.
A federal appeals court ruled months ago that Illinois' ban on concealed carry was unconstitutional and gave the state until early June to approve a plan. The Senate and House passed the bill on the last day of the session in late May by overwhelming, seemingly veto-proof margins. The court later extended the deadline to July 9 to give the governor more time to consider whether to sign it.
The concealed carry bill was carefully crafted and hard-fought compromise arrived at after months of negotiations between interests in the General Assembly. Quinn could have pushed for his positions but was largely silent other than advocating a ban on assault-style weapons.
Quinn used his amendatory veto power to require a blanket prohibition on guns where alcohol is served, allow individuals to carry no more than one weapon and an ammunition clip with no more than 10 rounds of ammunition and other changes in the legislation.
Area legislators say an override appears likely at a special session called for next Tuesday. Overriding Quinn's changes will require at least 71 votes in the House and 36 in the Senate, well below the number of votes to approve the original bill.
However remote, there is a possibility that Illinois could wind up with the "Wild, Wild West" of open carry with no rules if one house disagrees with the other, a result that would be bad news for Quinn.
That's why we think this is a political calculation on Quinn's part, one the Legislature should end quickly with a veto override next Tuesday.