Deadline Nears For Illinois To Allow Concealed Weapons

Illinois is the only state with a total ban on concealed weapons. Lawmakers in the state are facing a court-ordered deadline on Tuesday to put a law on the books allowing people to carry a concealed gun.

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Illinois is the last state in the country to prohibit gun owners from carrying concealed weapons. Now, state lawmakers have just one day left to meet a court order to change that. They'll meet tomorrow to consider revisions to a bill that would allow Illinois citizens to carry concealed guns in public. NPR's Cheryl Corley reports.

CHERYL CORLEY, BYLINE: Illinois has to come up with a conceal carry law because a federal appeals court ruled its total ban is unconstitutional. The state legislature's meeting to put a law in place comes in the aftermath of shootings in Chicago over the long July 4th holiday weekend that left at least 11 people dead and dozens wounded. Illinois Governor Pat Quinn points to that violence when he says the rewrite of the bill he's made is a matter of safety. The changes include limiting the number of guns a person can carry and banning guns at establishments with liquor licenses.

GOVERNOR PAT QUINN: I think we all understand the danger of gun violence. We understand the danger of gangs. And we want to make sure that we protect the people.

CORLEY: State Representative Brandon Phelps, a sponsor of the original concealed carry bill, says it was crafted after months of debate and the governor should have signed it with no change.

STATE REPRESENTATIVE BRANDON PHELPS: If concealed carry was the problem in this country, why hasn't one other state repealed their concealed carry law? They haven't done it because it works.

CORLEY: Quinn says it will be a showdown when lawmakers meet. They can either accept the changes he's made or override his amendatory veto. Cheryl Corley, NPR News, Chicago.

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