By James Taranto, WSJ -
"This is a historic, significant day for law-abiding gun owners," the Associated Press quotes Rep. Brandon Phelps as saying. "They finally get to exercise their Second Amendment rights."
Phelps, a Democrat, hails from Harrisburg, IL, a small city more than five hours south of Chicago by road. In a decade in the state House, the AP notes, he "has continued work on concealed carry begun by his uncle, ex-Rep. David Phelps, who began serving in the mid-1980s." Yesterday that work came to fruition as lawmakers in Springfield overrode Gov. Pat Quinn's "amendatory veto" of a bill establishing a permitting system for the carrying of concealed firearms.
"Quinn had predicted a 'showdown in Springfield,' "--life imitates "The Simpsons"--but "lawmakers had little appetite for fiddling any further with the legislation on the deadline day."
That deadline, as we noted in December, was established by a three-judge panel of the Seventh U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which held that Illinois's blanket ban on carrying firearms in public--the only remaining state law of its kind--was unconstitutional. The court stayed its ruling for 180 days to give the Illinois General Assembly time to enact remedial legislation, which it did yesterday as the clock ran out.
Don't rush out to the gun store yet, though. "It will likely be 2014 before any firearm owners are permitted to pack handguns in public," reports the Chicago Tribune. That's because "Illinois now has to set about building a bureaucracy to process applications."
The Trib adds: "While gun owners may have questions about how soon they'll be able to carry guns in public, other state residents may also have questions about where they can expect to find people armed with deadly weapons."
That's an easy one to answer: You can expect to find people armed with deadly weapons in just about any dodgy Chicago neighborhood.