Wednesday, May 4, 2011

“Concealed loaded handguns” – The new terminology for people who oppose bill

Those of us who think that allowing people to carry firearms on their person in public is a stupid idea got one bit of good news on Tuesday – Gov. Pat Quinn seems to be on our side.
QUINN: Preparing his "veto" stamp

He says that if the General Assembly manages to go ahead and pass such a bill into law, he will use his “veto” power to kill it off. Not that such action would mean much.

BECAUSE THE LEGISLATURE’S Democratic leadership has already determined that it will take more than a simple majority in the Illinois House and state Senate to even pass the bill, it means that they already will have the 60 percent majorities required by law to override a gubernatorial veto.

In short, the Legislature WILL have enough support to over-rule Quinn and impose the measure known as “concealed carry” regardless of what the governor thinks. The best that Quinn can do is cause a delay in its implementation by a few months.

Unless …

The Legislature is unable to get its act together on this particular issue and it fails to get either 71 votes of support in the Illinois House AND 36 votes in the state Senate. Which makes me wonder if Quinn’s point in publicly saying he’d veto the measure is to discourage someone who might be “leaning on the fence” (to use the old cliché).

MAKE SOMEONE WHO doesn’t really think much of the idea but thinks there is some obligation to support it realize that someone in a public position is willing to say “no” to the people who want to walk around with a handgun in a shoulder holster, or tucked away in a purse.

The speculation this spring is that the “concealed carry” legislation that has failed for years might actually have a chance because of the passage earlier this year of a measure that does away with capital punishment in Illinois.

The theory is that “concealed carry” would be turned into a “gimme” – a new law with conservative ideological leanings that would compensate those people who are ideologically inclined to want retribution in criminal punishment.

In short, the progressive elements get to do away with the flawed capital crimes statutes of this state, but have to accept the fact that some people will now be “packing heat” out of a belief that they can protect themselves in a clinch (instead of just shooting themselves, which is more likely).

IT SEEMS THAT Quinn isn’t on board with that political battle plan.

Quinn told reporter-types at the Statehouse in Springfield on Tuesday that he really believes a majority of people across Illinois hate the idea, which may well be true. Because the people who are most eager to have “concealed carry” usually focus their attention on the rural parts of Illinois.

That overlooks the fact that just over 45 percent of Illinois’ population lives in Cook County, and about two-thirds lives in the Chicago area when one adds in the outer suburban counties.

Which is why I’m sure Quinn thinks he can’t lose out any more than possible, since the people who most want “concealed carry” didn’t vote for Quinn to begin with.

“IT IS VERY clear that the people of Illinois do not favor this particular proposal,” Quinn said. “It will not enhance public safety in Illinois. It will not reduce violence, it actually will increase it.”

In fact, Quinn himself is engaged in his own politicking against the concept. I couldn’t help but notice his repeated use of the phrase “concealed loaded handguns,” to create an ominous image meant to scare people out of supporting the measure.

As in, “a concealed loaded handgun (carried by a person) who might lose their temper,” Quinn said. Along with, “it’s called ‘concealed carry,’ but what is concealed is that it is a loaded gun carried by a private citizen.”

I don’t know how things are going to turn out on this issue. It will be a close vote; one that may actually come up on Wednesday or Thursday. The hostilities that will be arisen by such a vote will likely be the tension highlight of the spring ’11 legislative session.

BUT IF “CONCEALED carry” does wind up failing once again (the legislative observers say the actual number of votes FOR the bill may fall just short of the 60 percent majority required), then perhaps we will have Quinn to thank for taking a public stance at this point.

Because I don’t see how our state is enhanced in any way by enacting a policy whose supporters seem most motivated by carrying holstered pistols JUST to express their spite to the more urban parts of Illinois.

As Quinn put it on Tuesday, “we need to look at ways to enhance the safety of people in our state.” Perhaps if “concealed carry” gets put to sleep for this year, we in Illinois can actually have that discussion.


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