A raucous debate over guns got underway Tuesday in the Illinois House of Representatives. At issue are the restrictions that will be in place as lawmakers comply with a federal court order demanding the state allow people to carry guns in public. Lawmakers are fighting over how loose or restrictive a concealed carry law should be.
The Democratic leadership in the Illinois House has engineered an unusually open debate, so far 27 amendments have been proposed from both sides of the issue.
"I don't understand why we're playing this political game for the next, I don't know, four, five, six hours, six weeks, six months,” says Representative Dennis Reboletti.
Reboletti is a Republican from Elmhurst, and he has a point. Debate in the House is usually tightly controlled. Reboletti speculated the amendments — like one prohibiting concealed weapons near schools — were calculated to force potentially unpopular votes.
"We can get roll calls that can be used against everybody, and say, 'Oh, there's Reboletti, he wants guns in schools.' More nonsense," Reboletti says.
Supporters of concealed carry are urging an up-or-down vote on what they say is a "clean" version of the legislation, without the dozens of amendments. Illinois is the only state without some form of concealed carry.