VIDEO: Lobbying push at Capitol as gun issue looms
3 months, 1 week ago
Gun proposals are a work in progress and neither side appears to have gained a clear upper hand
As gun violence commands the political spotlight this year, Illinois gun rights supporters turned out in force at the state Capitol on Wednesday with a message emblazoned across yellow T-shirts: "Don't Tread on My Right to Self-Defense."
They squeezed into the rotunda for their annual lobbying day only moments after Gov. Pat Quinn delivered his budget speech, an event that drew a sizable crowd of its own. The gun rights backers let lawmakers know they oppose both a proposed ban on military-style assault weapons and heavy restrictions on legislation to allow carrying concealed weapons in public.
Quinn wants both, but the Legislature is divided along regional lines on the issues. Lawmakers from Chicago and nearby suburbs have fought for gun control, while Downstate lawmakers and some suburbanites oppose legislation they feel might infringe on the rights of hunters.
The legislative fight over the shape of gun proposals has been playing out the last several weeks with advocates on both sides of the issue, but on Wednesday, thousands swelled around the statehouse lawn's showcase statue of Abraham Lincoln as they chanted, "Concealed carry now."
The concealed weapons issue has gained prominence since a federal appeals court ruled in December that Illinois should come up with legislation by early June to allow people to carry guns in public. Illinois is the only state in the nation without some form of concealed carry, a ban that lasted for decades.