Quinn, Emanuel assail court's concealed carry decision

Gov. Pat Quinn on Wednesday indicated he would like to see assault weapons banned in Illinois as lawmakers this spring revise state law to allow some form of concealed carry to comply with a court ruling that tossed aside a long-standing ban on allowing people to carry weapons.

Meanwhile, at City Hall, Mayor Rahm Emanuel blasted Tuesday's federal appellate court decision as "wrongheaded" as he offered legal help to Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan as she weighs an appeal.

Judges gave the General Assembly six months to make changes, and the Democratic governor suggested the new rules will have to restrict who can get a permit to carry a gun.

"We have to have reasonable limitations so people who have clear situations where they should not be carrying a gun, for example, those with mental health challenges, those who have records of domestic violence, we cannot have those sorts of people eligible to carry weapons, loaded weapons, on their person in public places" Quinn said.

National Rifle Association lobbyist Todd Vandermyde said the governor is "being very pragmatic in his approach" on concealed carry. Though Vandermyde expected gun rights groups to hold firm on a variety of points, he said his group wanted to "work for a reasonable solution and policy on right to carry."

Quinn also pressed for an assault weapons ban, saying Illinois residents "overwhelmingly support that."

"I want to say today, and I'll say every day, we need to ban assault weapons in our state of Illinois. We aren't going to have people marching along Michigan Avenue, or any other avenue in the state of Illinois, with military-style assault weapons, weapons that are designed to kill people."

An assault weapons ban has been elusive in Springfield because of geographical differences of opinion. Opponents point to the fact that Chicago had a gun ban for decades, even as criminals obtained guns and shot people.

For his part, Emanuel noted his efforts while working for former President Bill Clinton to require background checks for gun buyers and ban semi-automatic assault weapons.

"We fought against the National Rifle Association. They had not been beaten in 30 years in the United States Congress, and we beat 'em," Emanuel said.

"I think this opinion by the 7th Circuit Court is also wrongheaded," he added.

Emanuel said he has offered to make city Law and Police department resources available to the Illinois attorney general. Meanwhile, the city is reviewing its gun registration ordinance to see if it needs modification in light of the court ruling.

Tribune reporter Ray Long contributed.



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