The Illinois House of Representatives voted 85-30 this week to lift a long-standing ban on the concealed carry of guns in public. In December, a federal appeals court declared the state's ban, the last such law in the country, unconstitutional, and gave lawmakers until June 9 to legislate concealed carry rules.
Democratic Governor Pat Quinn condemned the bill, stating that it tramples on local gun laws that do not concern concealed carry. The bill would eliminate local regulations such as Chicago's assault-weapons ban, gun-purchase taxes, and required reporting of lost and stolen guns.
"We need strong gun-safety laws that protect the people of our state. Instead, this measure puts public safety at risk," Quinn told reporters.
A Senate version of the bill, which only concerns itself with concealed carry, is awaiting a vote.
Under the House bill, sponsored by Representative Brandon Phelps (D-Harrisburg), law enforcement officials would be required to issue permits to qualified gun owners. Some other states laws give local police discretion when issuing permits, but this bill would not.
If the Illinois General Assembly fails to pass a concealed carry law by June 9, cities and counties will be free to pass their own versions.
In Chicago alone, there were 500 murders in 2012; 435 of these, or 87%, involved firearms.