Tuesday, December 11, 2012

EXTRA: It’s going to be u-g-l-y before Illinois Legislature this spring

Here’s hoping that issues such as gambling expansion and pension reform really do manage (somehow) to get resolved in the final days of the current Illinois legislative session come January.

The black skies of this century-old postcard will match the Statehouse mood of those legislators next spring who will have to negotiate a "concealed carry" deal against their better judgment.

Because once the newly-elected General Assembly takes over, there’s the likelihood that firearms are going to be an ever-so-dominant issue.

A FEDERAL APPELLATE court on Tuesday issued an order interpreted as striking down this state’s attempts to have sense toward public safety with regards to restricting a person’s ability to pack a pistol in a shoulder holster, or a purse.

Concealed carry. It’s back.

The appeals court for northern Illinois said that it felt compelled to go along with the Supreme Court of the United States, which in cases involving other parts of the country has decided that an expansive right to bear arms (which really doesn’t exist in the letter of the law written into the Bill of Rights) is important to maintaining personal self-defense.

But before any of those insecure types whose manhood feels threatened if they can’t carry a pistol start carrying on, the appeals court stayed its own order for 180 days.

THAT IS SO the General Assembly can come up with a state law regulating the carrying of firearms in public.

The Bill of Rights may say the federal government will not impose such laws. But the state can.

Of course, the premise of these legislative negotiations is going to have to be that people do have some right to have their pistols in public under most conditions – rather than the premise of restricting such firearms use.

One of the National Rifle Association’s lobbyists told the Chicago Tribune that many of the “compromises” that his group was willing to make in the past are no more. They’re feeling the moral high-ground!

A PART OF me wonders if this is the real “damage” caused by the recent arrest of state Sen. Donne Trotter, D-Chicago, in getting caught with a pistol and ammunition at O’Hare International Airport.

Trotter, who has been among those who tried to restrict firearms because of their potential for getting into the wrong hands, is going to get all the cheap-shot rhetoric of being some sort of “hypocrite.”

Although I’m more curious to see the outcome of the Legislature’s efforts. There may well now be veto-proof majorities in the Democratic Party caucuses of both the Illinois House and state Senate. But this has always been an issue that turned more into Chicago, the city, versus the rest of the state.

Will this get further tangled up in legal appeals (no word as of when I’m writing this commentary from the Illinois attorney general)? Is this going to get tangled up into some sort of “minority rules” attempt at passing legislation?

OR WHAT HAPPENS if the 180 days passes and our Legislature finds itself incapable of coming up with anything? Which when you consider their track record on so many other issues is a very real possibility.

Illinois in contempt of court on concealed carry? Somehow, I think there will be millions of state residents who wouldn’t mind seeing that outcome fall into play.


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