In a landmark decision, Illinois lawmakers overrode Governor Patrick Quinn's attempt to veto a bill that would allow citizens to carry concealed firearms, making the state the last in the US to permit the practice.
Both the Senate and the House voted to override the Democrat governor's veto of a concealed carry bill, which Quinn had been attempting to rewrite with more stringent restrictions in the wake of an uptick in gun violence in the city of Chicago.
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Illinois was ordered to permit the carriage of concealed weapons in December, after a federal appeals court ruled that the state was violating the US Constitution by disallowing the practice, wrote the BBC. The state was given six months to write legislation.
Some lawmakers argued that passing some version of the bill would beat passing nothing at all, which would theoretically open the state up to the virtually unregulated usage of firearms.
"If we do not vote to override today, at 12:01 a.m. tomorrow, July 10, there are no restrictions upon people who want to carry handguns in the public way," said Sen. Kwame Raoul, a Chicago Democrat, according to the Associated Press.
The governor stuck to his opinions on the concealed carry matter following the vote. "Following a weekend of horrific violence in Chicago in which at least 70 people were shot and 12 killed, this was the wrong move for public safety in Illinois," said Quinn of the decision, according to the Chicago Tribune.
It will take time to sort out both licensing and permit rules, noted the Tribune, meaning that Illinois gun owners will have to wait a few more months before they can legally exercise their new concealed-carry rights. The licenses will cost $150 and will last for five years.
Chicago's murder rate is currently on track to be worse than in 2012. The homicide rate passed 200 after a July 4 weekend marked by a rash of shootings, including the deaths of a 5-year-old and a 7-year-old in separate incidents.