A measure that would allow people to carry weapons in public is advancing in the Illinois Senate. Gun owners would have to apply to the Illinois State Police. The department would then ask local law enforcement whether there was a reason someone should not be licensed. The measure would also ban weapons from schools, day care, casinos, and stadiums. Those restrictions prompted a quick response from NRA lobbyist Todd Vandermyde:
"This is a bill to discourage people and prevent people from carrying a firearm and exercising their constitutional, fundamental right to keep and bear arms for self-defense in the public." -Todd Vandermyde
Vandermyde says permit holders would have a hard time navigating the patchwork of rules. A Senate committee approved the measure on a party-line vote.
State Sen. Kwame Raoul, D-Chicago, was trying to negotiate a compromise with gun-rights supporters.
But ultimately he went his own way. His proposal would not allow guns on public transportation. It would also let Chicago police deny some individuals with concealed-carry permits from bringing weapons into the city.
Raoul says Chicago has things that make it different from the rest of Illinois - like a much higher population density.
"And so there's a lot more opportunity for conflict." -Sen. Kwame Raoul
Sen. Dale Righter, R-Mattoon, flipped Raoul's argument about Chicago's potential for conflict on its head.
"Isn't that a reason to make sure it is just as easy to carry a loaded firearm in the city of Chicago?" -Sen. Dale Righter
Illinois is under a court order to pass a concealed carry law by June 9th.
Illinois Public Radio's Brian Mackey contributed to this report.