SPRINGFIELD — The Democratic-led majority in the Illinois House has voted in favor of banning guns in schools, casinos and on public transit during an unusual debate allowing lawmakers to vote piece by piece on where people should be allowed to carry concealed weapons.
Republicans accused the Chicago-led majority of forcing GOP lawmakers to take controversial positions that could be used against them in their next campaign.
"This is a political stunt," said Rep. Dennis Reboletti, R-
The perpetual fight over gun control in
The legislation that carries all the amendments was not called for a vote, leaving potential conflicts between the proposals that lawmakers may seek to reconcile before any House vote to send the bill to the Senate.
With Madigan, the state Democratic Party chairman, already picking up suburban seats in the last election, Republicans feared he was setting his sights on gaining even more ground rather than actually trying to address the concealed carry issue. Republicans questioned why Democrats were focusing on the gun issue now, in this fashion, rather than on Illinois' budget problems and $96.8 billion pension debt.
Republican Minority Leader
"This bill can't pass out of the House like it is, nor can it go to the Senate, so how does that save a life?" Cross said.
Democratic lawmakers voted in favor of prohibiting concealed weapons in places like casinos, libraries, hospitals, mental health centers, child care facilities, stadiums and amusement parks.
"When they get done with this, you won't be able to carry anywhere," said Rep. David Reis, R-Willow Hill, expressing a frustration among many gun rights advocates as they watched restrictions get piled on.
At the end of the long string of amendment votes, lawmakers late Tuesday also approved an amendment sponsored by Rep.
The gun debate in Illinois has always been more regional than partisan, with Downstate and suburban lawmakers of both parties more interested in gun rights for hunters and sportsmen. Chicagoans and lawmakers from nearby suburbs have been more interested in gun control.