Chicago gun ban ruling
Colleen Lawson, one of the people who sued the city of Chicago over its handgun ban, speaks during a news conference Monday, June 28, 2010 in Chicago, on a U.S. Supreme Court decision that's cast doubt on the city's ban. Lawson says the "Chicago crime buffet is over" and she warned criminal that residents aren't their prey. At left is her husband David Lawson. (AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato) Kiichiro Sato

SPRINGFIELD -- Monday's high court decision overturning a handgun ban in Chicago has some saying the ruling could help break a long-running stalemate in the Statehouse over gun control.

But even staunch supporters of a law allowing people to carry concealed weapons know the decision is no magic bullet for their cause.

"It's not going to be a cakewalk to get it into law," said state Sen. John Jones, R-Mount Vernon.

In rural areas of the state, Democrat and Republican members of the House and Senate typically side with the National Rifle Association, which favors fewer rules on gun ownership.

But, in Chicago, lawmakers have been clamoring for tougher laws because of ongoing gun-related violence. Over the past two summer weekends, for example, more than 75 people have been shot in the city.

The rift has created a legislative logjam when it comes to any major changes in firearms laws.

Just as Chicago lawmakers have fell short in their efforts to put an assault weapons ban on the books, downstate lawmakers have failed to advance legislation allowing Illinoisans to carry concealed weapons.

Two years ago, backers of concealed carry also pointed to the court's decision to overturn a handgun ban in Washington D.C. as a momentum-builder for their cause.

But, just as it has in the past, the push to make Illinois the 49th state to allow concealed carry fizzled.

Gun control advocate Thomas Mannard, executive director of the Illinois Council on Handgun Violence, said he won't be surprised if the decision is used to rally support for a concealed carry law.

"You kind of grasp at anything you can to try and get some momentum," Mannard said. "But it's a little bit of a stretch."

Gov. Pat Quinn expressed doubt Monday that concealed carry will move forward in the General Assembly anytime soon.

"I don't think so. I don't think that's embedded in the constitutional right," Quinn told reporters in Springfield.

State Sen. Bill Brady, the GOP nominee for governor, said the court's decision makes it clear that cities and states are limited in their ability to pass laws that infringe on a person's ability to bear arms.

"I respect today's United States Supreme Court ruling," Brady said in a statement. "The impact on the legislative process remains to be seen. The decision will be reviewed by lawyers across the country and there will still be court action that we can anticipate."

State Rep. Bill Mitchell, R-Forsyth, said the high court decision could alter the number of votes needed in the House and Senate need to approve a concealed carry proposal.

Currently, parliamentary rules mean a concealed carry proposal needs 71 votes to be sent to the governor. Mitchell said the ruling could result in a simple majority of lawmakers -- 60 in the House -- being needed for passage.

"I think that's achievable," said Mitchell, who is sponsoring a concealed weapons measure in the House.


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