An unusual day, fascinating to some and frustrating to others, brought debate of a concealed-carry bill on the floor of the Illinois House. The procedure chosen for the issue of how to write a bill allowing Illinoisans to carry a concealed weapon is one called “weekly order of business,” a tactic used so rarely that most of the people working at the Capitol now are hard-pressed to recall the last time it was employed.
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The idea is to start with a blank piece of paper and add elements to it – in the form of up to 27 amendments, debated individually. While the gun issue is a geographic one rather than a partisan one, the minority Republicans squawked about it almost right out of the box.
“Your definition of near may be 1000 feet and someone … in Downstate Illinois or another state … (may call it) 250 feet,” said State Rep. David Reis (R-Sainte Marie), in frustration over the lack of legal definitions in an amendment outlawing guns near schools. A federal ruling tossed out Illinois’ ban on concealed weapons, essentially ordering the legislature to come up with something by June.