When it comes to gun rights, Illinois has been one of (if not the most) backwards state in the country for some time. In fact, Illinois was the only state in the country that did not allow its citizens to carry a concealed weapon anywhere in the state. Finally, in December of last year, the Supreme Court put Illinois on notice that they could not wholesale prohibit concealed carry and would have six months to pass a law freeing their citizens of the burdensome gun laws.
It took the entire six-month period, but on the final day possible, the Illinois legislature passed measures that would allow their citizens to carry concealed weapons. While the legislature is heavily Democrat, it is also highly fractured when it comes to gun rights issues. While Illinois may be most famous for being home to “the Second City” of Chicago, the state is largely rural and the people living in rural areas value their right to bear arms. So the legislature is generally split between gun rights supporters from more rural areas and gun grabbers from the urban areas. The fractured groups were finally able to cobble together an agreement that gained an overwhelming majority in the legislature, and sent the legislation to the Governor to sign off on.
Governor Quinn, a very liberal Democrat, chose instead to veto nine different measures within the legislation, effectively sending it back to the legislature. Now the legislature will meet to debate the Governor’s vetoes and to discuss whether or not they will override the veto or enact the measure as the Governor has rewritten it.
The overwhelmingly Democrat legislature is not happy with the Governor for his amending of their bill, which some see as a simple election ploy to appeal to the elite liberal class in Chicago. One NRA lobbyist put it plainly: “He’s essentially telling Downstate ‘you don’t matter.’ He’s going to try to win off the liberal lakefront because that’s the constituency he’s playing to. That’s really it.”
Quinn’s attempt at locking up the Chicago vote for his upcoming reelection bid may be all for naught. A spokesperson for Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago) predicts, “I do expect an override… I think President Cullerton thinks there are some valid, leftover concerns and some implementation issues that need discussed with the caucus, but I’m quite sure the votes are there for an override.”
The legislature will pick up the issue of the veto override on July 9th, which is the day that the Supreme Court had designated as the deadline for Illinois to draw up a law that would allow their citizens to begin carrying concealed weapons, if they so choose. Either way, the two most likely candidates to win the Governor’s mansion in 2014, Governor Quinn and Chicago Mayor William Daley, will both continue to look for ways to make it more difficult for Illinois citizens to defend themselves. Chicago has the worst gun violence in the nation, and they also happen to have the toughest gun control laws in the nation. Gun control is not working, but Chicago politicians just never learn.