Gov. Pat Quinn said today that cities and towns across Illinois should have the power to impose their own restrictions on any legislation lawmakers end up approving to allow citizens to carry guns in public.
Quinn's comments come as lawmakers face a June 9 deadline to craft a concealed carry bill after a federal appeals court ruled in December that Illinois' longtime ban was unconstitutional.
The Democratic governor has long been opposed to letting people carry handguns outside the home, but said the state must begrudgingly comply with the court's order. But Quinn argues there's room to put in place tough restrictions, including allowing cities such as Chicago to implement strict regulations that go beyond what lawmakers may put in place.
"I am not excited about this at all," Quinn said about implementing concealed carry. "If this has to happen, it has to have the proper restrictions and limitations... I think we should make sure it's very tight and I think local communities, wherever they are, should have the option to make it as tight as possible in their community."
The idea highlights the geographical divide that largely drives the gun control debate in Illinois. Chicago legislators point to the city's violence in calling for tight restrictions while lawmakers from downstate argue tough rules have done little to prevent crime.
Quinn also has called for banning guns in certain places such as sports stadiums, government buildings, shopping malls and churches. He also supports a ban on assault weapons and high capacity magazines.
Quinn's comments came during an appearance with a group of Chicago clergy members who echoed the governor's call for tough gun control measures