Illinois Rep. Mike Bost, R-Murphysboro, argues gun legislation while on the House floor during session at the Illinois State Capitol Wednesday, April 17, 2013, in Springfield Ill. Credit: AP
Illinois state Rep. Mike Bost (R-Murphysboro) launched into a fiery tirade on the Illinois House floor after Democratic lawmakers attempted to sneak in what he considered to be a significant floor amendment to a proposed concealed carry bill. Bost's outburst actually occurred on April 17, but was only lightly covered.
The House was debating the "may issue" proposal in regards to the state's forthcoming concealed carry law when Bost lost his cool. The proposal would allow sheriffs to decide whether a citizen has a legitimate reason to carry a gun.
"Floor amendments should be some technical small change that we shouldn't have to worry about like this. But yet you bring a whole bill that has questions whether it is even constitutional," Bost said. "Folks, the process is really messed up. Quit! This is not the bill that everyone has debated...it is a ploy and once again your side of the aisle keeps trying to make ploys instead of dealing with the real issue. Keep playing games!"
"Do you know that one of the associations actually has a click-down of when we have constitutional carry in the state of Illinois? And you want to endanger your citizens and keep playing games like this? Vote no!," he scolded, nearly ripping the microphone from his desk.
The "shall issue" concealed carry measure failed in the House later that day, getting 64 of the 71 needed votes.
Watch the intense video below:
In an interview with the Mt. Vernon Register-News, Bost explained his outburst:
"The amendment that was added to the bill we were discussing was a 'may/may' carry bill," Bost said. "New York has a similar bill, and less than .01 percent of people get to carry. Under the amendment, someone would have to go to the local sheriff, who would do a background check, talk to people, then the sheriff may allow the person to petition the state for a concealed carry permit. Then, the state would do a background check and may issue a permit. That's two mays and makes it almost impossible to get a permit. The bill was flawed and I explained that problem."
It was when Drury said there were no "Constitutional scholars" in the House and accused Repubicans of being two-faced that Bost took offense. Dury further commented, to boos from the other members of the House, that "we don't want someone like that carrying a concealed weapon.""You can't say 'our side of the aisle' on this issue, it's not about one party or the other," Bost said. "There was screaming on both sides of the aisle because he overstepped his bounds. The bill failed miserably."
Meanwhile, the battle over concealed carry marches on in the state. Here's where Illinois' concealed carry legislation stands as of this week, according to the Associated Press:
Illinois Senate legislation touted as a compromise between Chicagoans weary of street violence and gun owners eager to legally carry concealed weapons elsewhere appears more restrictive than promised, according to a copy obtained by The Associated Press. It will be redrafted before it's even filed, a spokeswoman said Monday.
Sen. Kwame Raoul, a Chicago Democrat, had said the plan was a permissive concealed carry program. But the language indicates that Illinois State Police could deny permits to anyone unable to show they faced a violent threat or did not have a "proper reason" for carrying one -- hallmarks of gun-permit laws in states with more restrictive rules.
Raoul's idea was to provide better control over permits for carrying concealed weapons in Chicago and Cook County with a review by local police. Raoul said last week that outside of Chicago, the concealed carry law would require review only by the state police. Raoul described his proposal as "shall issue," a less-restrictive means of screening permit applicants.
To gun-rights advocates, "shall issue" means an applicant gets a permit if he or she passes a background check and gets the requisite training. Raoul's initial legislation, however, is closer to a "may issue" law in that it would require an applicant to provide state police with "a proper reason for carrying a firearm" and prove that he or she "is a responsible person of good moral character" whose permit would be "consistent with public safety."
An explanation of "proper reason" would include descriptions of threats or injuries, police reports, order of protection or no-contact orders, according to the legislation.
"That's exactly what 'may issue' is," said Rep. Brandon Phelps, a Democrat from Harrisburg who is the House point person on concealed carry and a "shall issue" proponent.
"In New York, you have to prove to them that you have a reason to have a concealed carry permit. ... We just think that if you pass the background check, and you meet all the qualifications with the training, you should be able to get a concealed carry permit, no matter who you are," Phelps said.
Raoul was not immediately available for comment. Rikeesha Phelon, spokeswoman for Senate Democrats, said the proposal "is being modified to address concerns and issues made by our caucus last week."
Sen. Tim Bivins, a Dixon Republican who spent 20 years as Lee County sheriff, had worked with Raoul on the Senate plan but said last week after seeing the language that some Republicans were concerned about it -- including the interpretation that it was a "may issue" plan. He did not return a phone call Monday.
Phelps' proposed "shall issue" measure failed in the House, getting 64 of the 71 needed votes. He said later he might have lost some votes to Democrats who were waiting to see Raoul's Senate version.
Phelps is fine-tuning his bill and said he will call it again for a vote.
Featured image via AP