Madigan pushes gun bill through House

Speaker Michael Madigan, seen here in March, pushed a concealed carry bill through the House today despite objections from Gov. Pat Quinn and Mayor Rahm Emanuel. (Lane Christiansen / March 13, 2013)

Under the Senate bill, a person had to show proper reason to carry a gun. That restriction is not in the House bill.

The House version would put the Illinois State Police in charge of conducting background checks that include reviewing state and federal databases and doing additional interviews if necessary. Any law enforcement agency, including federal authorities, could object to an applicant getting a concealed carry permit.

But the measure also would let citizens who are denied applications appeal that decision to a new review board dominated by people with law enforcement experience, such as former judges or FBI agents. The Senate version had such appeals going to the same state police agency that denied them.

But Rep. Scott Drury, D-Highland Park, contended the penalties are weak, and he said law enforcement authorities should have a chance to appeal a review board decision just as citizens do.

“This bill is not ready,” Drury said.

Both bills set out a long list of places people could not carry guns. Among them: CTA buses and trains, public parks, stadiums, zoos, casinos and government buildings.

The two bills differ, however, when it comes to alcohol. The House version would ban guns in bars where more than 50 percent of sales come from liquor. The Senate bill has a more restrictive standard.

To qualify for a concealed carry permit, a person must be 21 and cannot have been convicted for a crime in which they served at least one year in prison. A person cannot be addicted to drugs or alcohol, or adjudicated as a mentally disabled person.

Permits could not go to a person who has been convicted of a serious crime or been in a mental health facility within the last five years. A mental health professional would have to certify that a person is not a clear and present danger to himself or others.

The legislation would require 16 hours of training, including shooting exercises. The cost of a concealed weapons permit would be $150 for five years, with $120 going to the state police, $20 for a mental health reporting fund and $10 to the state crime lab fund to help undo backlogs.

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