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Lawmakers Shoot Down Concealed Carry Legislation

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A .38 Caliber Pistol. (CBS)

A .38 Caliber Pistol. (CBS)

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WBBM) – A measure to allow Illinois residents to carry concealed firearms has failed in the Illinois House, despite support from most Republicans and some conservative Democrats.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s Alex Degman Reports

The House vote was 65-52 before the sponsor, State Rep. Brandon Phelps (D-Harrisburg), pulled the proposal from the House floor. The legislation would have required 71 votes to pass, as it would have overridden home rule authority in cities like Chicago.

Before Thursday’s vote, Phelps had said his measure was the closest it’s ever been to passing a chamber.

Phelps had worried that Gov. Pat Quinn’s threat to veto the proposal might have cost him a couple of votes.

“It didn’t help anything, I’ll tell you that,” Phelps said. “I’ll be honest with you, you know me I’ll tell you like it is. But that’s why they did it because they know it’s close. They’ll do anything and everything they can to beat this, because they know it’s close.”

Supporters agreed to amend the bill to prohibit concealed carry on college campuses, inside government buildings and other public places. Business owners would also have been able to decide whether they want to allow guns in their buildings.

Phelps said he and fellow downstate lawmakers have gotten the short end of the stick this legislative session — after lawmakers voted to legalize civil unions for same-sex couples and abolished the death penalty in Illinois — and downstate lawmakers have very few public policy victories to tout.

“I can’t speak for all my caucus, but I can tell you one thing right now. It’s going to be hard for me to pass anything without this,” Phelps said before the vote. “Downstate needs something to hang their hat on.”

Illinois is one of only two states, along with Wisconsin, that do not allow concealed carry.

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