A compromise allowing the carrying of concealed weapons backed by House Speaker Michael Madigan and agreed to by the General Assembly's leading gun-rights advocate materialized Wednesday, adding to the list of gun-free locales but making it easier for qualified gun owners to get permits.
Madigan, a Chicago Democrat, emerged from a closed-door meeting of his caucus late in the afternoon, saying the reworked version of southern Illinois Rep. Brandon Phelps' measure would get its first test with a committee vote Thursday.
A House floor tally would follow a day later, just 16 days before the deadline for establishing a concealed carry law set by the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals when it decreed the state's last-in-the-nation ban unconstitutional.
Phelps said the plan is a framework for a "shall issue" law, meaning the Illinois State Police would be required to issue a permit to anyone with a Firearm Owners Identification card who has the requisite training and clears a criminal background check.
"All we're doing here is making sure the good guys have guns," said Phelps, D-Harrisburg. "Right now, the only ones that have the guns are the bad guys."