Illinois Governor Pat Quinn is showing, once again, that it is possible to have a nuanced understanding of public safety issues and hold elected office. First he helped eradicate capital punishment in the state. Now he’s promised to veto a conceal and carry bill should it pass despite enormous pressure from gun rights supporters.
In an interview with the Chicago Tribune, Gov. Quinn displayed a healthy skepticism of the claim that arming citizens keeps gun violence down. “The concept of concealed, loaded hand guns in the possession of private citizens does not enhance public safety. On the contrary it increases danger for everyday people as they go about their lives.
On this move Quinn appears to have the backing of law enforcement. In April, a group of Chicago police officers traveled to the capital Springfield to oppose the measure, saying that flaws in the gun permit system would only be enhanced by allowing people to carry concealed firearms.
But Illinois Democrats are not united with Quinn on this. Democratic Rep. Brandon Phelps, who is also a sponsor of the bill vowed to move forward with the bill regardless of the veto threat. As of now it does not look like sponsors of the bill have enough votes to override the governor’s veto.
Gov. Quinn should be applauded for his leadership on this issue and for not being afraid to take a little heat in the process. At a time when the country is bitterly divided and still hanging by a thread, these types of values legislation do nothing but waste time and distract from the real tasks at hand.
photo courtesy of Gideon Tsang via Flickr