Legislature overrides governor’s amendatory veto of concealed carry bill

By Brandon Reid
Senior Assistant Editor

Concealed carry of firearms is now legal Illinois, although citizens will have to wait a little longer to carry concealed firearms in public.

Tuesday, July 9, the Illinois Senate voted 41-17 and the House voted 77-31 to override Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn’s (D) amendatory veto of House Bill 183, which creates the Firearm Concealed Carry Act.

The bill originally passed both the House and Senate with veto-proof majorities. However, facing a federal mandate by the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals to create a concealed carry law by July 9, Quinn opted to use an amendatory veto on the bill.

In his veto message, Quinn stated, “I am compelled to use my constitutional authority to rectify several specific issues, to establish a better law to protect the people of Illinois.”

The governor’s proposed changes included banning firearms from any establishment (including restaurants) that serves alcohol, reinstating “home-rule” communities’ authority to institute assault weapons bans, requiring a weapon to be completely (not just “mostly”) concealed, and allowing employers to ban weapons in their workplaces.

Although the governor’s proposed amendments were not included in H.B. 183, the Illinois Senate did approve a separate bill July 9 containing three of Quinn’s requested changes.

The bill, which awaits a House vote, would require those stopped by law enforcement to declare they were possessing a concealed firearm. The bill would also not require signage in most public places where firearms are prohibited. Additionally, the bill would require reporting of those declared mentally ill to the Illinois State Police.

Although passage of H.B. 183 means concealed carry of firearms will be legal in the state, gun owners will have to wait to obtain a valid concealed carry license from the Illinois State Police before carrying a concealed firearm. The State Police have 180 to develop that process. Possessing a valid Firearm Owner Identification Card is not sufficient to carry a concealed firearm in public.

A Dec. 11, 2012, federal ruling by the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals found the state’s ban on carrying a weapon in public was unconstitutional. Illinois was the only state in the nation to not have some form of concealed carry law.

Following is the full text of H.B. 183:

Creates the Firearm Concealed Carry Act. Allows residents and non-residents who meet specified qualifications to apply for a license to carry a concealed firearm in this State. The license is valid for 5 years and the license fee is $150 for a resident and $300 for a non-resident. Allows any law enforcement agency to object to a license applicant based upon a reasonable suspicion that the applicant is a danger to himself or herself or others, or a threat to public safety. Allows the Department of State Police to object to a license applicant with 5 or more arrests for any reason or 3 or more gang-related arrests within the 7 years preceding the date of application. These objections are reviewed by a Concealed Carry Licensing Review Board composed of 7 members appointed by the Governor with the advice and consent of the Senate. The Concealed Carry Licensing Review Board determines by a preponderance of the evidence whether the applicant is eligible or ineligible for a license. Prohibits a licensee from carrying a concealed handgun into certain specified locations. Requires the Department of State Police to approve a 16 hour training course for new license applicants and 3 hour course for license renewal, and to certify course instructors. Establishes training course requirements. Creates a task force to develop a plan by March 1, 2014 to allow for a Firearm Owner’s Identification Card and concealed carry license designation to appear on a person’s Illinois driver’s license or Illinois identification card. Preempts home rule on the regulation, licensing, possession, registration, and transportation of concealed handguns as covered by the Act. Creates the School Administrator Reporting of Mental Health Clear and Present Danger Determinations Law. Requires the principal of a public elementary or secondary school, or his or her designee, and the chief administrative officer of a private elementary or secondary school or a public or private community college, college, or university, or his or her designee, to report to the Department of Human Services when a student is determined to pose a clear and present danger to himself, herself, or to others within 24 hours of the determination. Amends the Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Code to make conforming changes and require notification to the Department of State Police Firearm Owners Identification Card Office no later than 7 days after entry of a court order for an adjudication as a mentally disabled or disabled person. Requires reporting a developmental disability or clear and present danger determination within 24 hours of the determination to the Department of Human Services, and the Department of Human Services must notify the Department of State Police. Firearms in the possession of a person adjudicated as a mentally disabled or disabled person must be ordered by the court to deliver the firearms to a person with a valid Firearm Owner’s Identification Card for safekeeping. The adjudicated person shall also be ordered to surrender his or her Firearm Owner’s Identification Card. Amends the Firearm Owners Identification Card Act (FOID). Defines “addicted to narcotics” for purposes of disqualifying a person for a Firearm Owner’s Identification Card. Changes the disqualification for a Firearm Owner’s Identification Card as a “mental defective” to “mentally disabled”. Adds to the definition of “mentally disabled” an adjudication as a disabled person, a finding of guilty but mentally ill, or a determination that a person is a clear and present danger to himself, herself, or to others. Defines “clear and present danger”. Preempts home rule on the regulation, licensing, possession, registration, and transportation of concealed handguns and ammunition for concealed handguns as covered by the FOID Act. Preempts home rule on the prohibition of possession or ownership of assault weapons unless the ordinance is enacted before, on, or within 10 days of the effective date of this Act and any amendments thereafter. Amends The Freedom of Information Act. Exempts from disclosure the names and information of persons who have applied for or received a concealed carry license and certain records under the Firearm Concealed Carry Act. Amends the Open Meetings Act to close meetings and deliberations of the Concealed Carry Licensing Review Board. Amends the Department of State Police Law of the Civil Administrative Code of Illinois and the State Finance Act. Creates the State Police Firearm Services Fund for fee revenue from the Firearm Owners Identification Card Act and Firearm Concealed Carry Act. The Department of State Police may use the Fund for its lawful purposes, mandates, functions, and duties under the Firearm Owners Identification Card Act and Firearm Concealed Carry Act. Creates the Mental Health Reporting Fund for fee revenue from the Firearm Concealed Carry Act for the Department of State Police and the Department of Human Services for duties in collecting and reporting data on mental health records and ensuring firearm possession prohibitions related to mental health are enforced. Surplus money in the Fund may be used for mental health treatment programs. Amends the Criminal Code of 2012 and other Acts to make conforming changes. Effective immediately.

Posted July 9, 2013

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