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Ill. Senate Panel Advances Stricter Gun-Carry Bill

Illinois State Capitol

Illinois State Capitol buillding in Springfield (AP Photo)

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CHICAGO (CBS/AP) – Majority Democrats on the committee drove the 10-6 vote in favor of the bill by Sen. Kwame Raoul Raoul said he doesn’t know how many votes he has on the floor or when he’ll call it.

The legislation doesn’t include a provision that overrides all local ordinances on firearms — such as Chicago’s assault-weapons ban.

That’s the hallmark of a proposal the House passed overwhelmingly just last week. The Senate panel defeated that plan.

Sen. Don Harmon, an Oak Park Democrat, says such a pre-emption is “a bridge too far.”

Raoul’s measure also prohibits carrying guns wherever alcohol is served for consumption.

Last week, the House passed a measure – backed by Speaker Michael Madigan – which would allow registered gun owners in Illinois to carry concealed firearms, but it would also obliterate all local gun laws enacted by cities, towns and villages throughout the state.

The plan would not allow Chicago or other “home rule” municipalities to enact stricter gun control rules.
That proposal has drawn the ire of Gov. Pat Quinn, Mayor Rahm Emanuel, and Senate President John Cullerton, who have called the plan overreaching.

The governor has voiced support for the Senate plan.

“This bill would place reasonable limits and restrictions on guns in Illinois while protecting the important principle of home rule. We must ensure that Illinois municipalities can continue to take additional steps to ensure public safety for their residents,” said Quinn in a statement.

A vote on both measures could come sometime on Tuesday.

A federal appeals court has set a June 9 deadline for Illinois lawmakers to enact a new concealed carry law, after ruling the state’s ban on possessing firearms in public was unconstitutional. If lawmakers don’t act by then, anyone with a Firearm Owner’s Identification card could carry a concealed firearm in Illinois.

However, some local officials – including Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart and Police Supt. Garry McCarthy – have been working on plans to impose local restrictions on concealed weapons.

Dart has said, if lawmakers don’t act to impose restrictions on carrying concealed firearms, Illinois would be “the Wild West.”

The sheriff has proposed a local concealed carry law that Cook County could enact if lawmakers don’t meet the court’s deadline. His plan would give the sheriff’s office the power to approve and reject licenses to carry concealed guns in Cook County. Applicants would have to pay a $300 fee for a license.

Dart said he thinks the ordinance would apply not only to Cook County suburbs, but also to the city of Chicago in the absence of a state law governing concealed carrying of guns.

A Chicago Police Department spokesman has said the city is also preparing its own concealed carry ordinance, should state lawmakers fail to act.

Illinois is the only state that does not have a law allowing people to carry concealed firearms.

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS Radio and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)