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NRA 'Won't Bend' On Concealed Carry On Public Transit

By Chuck Sudo in News on Feb 20, 2013 7:35PM

Photo credit: Gun Control Debate

The National Rifle Association’s chief lobbyist in Illinois said the gun rights proponent would not compromise on their demand to allow concealed carry on public transit in the Land of Lincoln.

Todd Vandermyde testified in Springfield Tuesday, where the Illinois state Legislature began working on drafting new concealed carry legislation that “meets the burden of public safety” that inspired the original law, which was ruled unconstitutional by a federal appeals court last December. The General Assembly was given 180 days to write a new concealed carry law. Vandermyde told the Sun-Times.

“I don’t believe people who need public transportation to get around should be prohibited from exercising their constitutional right,” said lobbyist Todd Vandermyde, who later questioned the contradiction of a motorist being allowed to carry a gun in their vehicle but not a mass transit customer.

The leaders of the Regional Transportation Authority’s three agencies and other Illinois public transit agencies wrote a letter to House Speaker Michael Madigan asking that he not concede and allow concealed carry on public transit.

“The issue is that you’re dealing with a confined space where the public expects some safety,” Jordan Matyas, the RTA’s chief of staff, told the Sun-Times. “This is just going to lead to problems, and it will lead to what we believe is a lack of security and safety and possibly reduce ridership.”

Meanwhile, the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office is telling lawmakers in Springfield they can essentially ignore the December ruling. Paul Castiglione, policy director for Anita Alvarez’s office, testified that “only the Illinois Supreme Court can declare a statute from the legislature unconstitutional.”

Gov. Pat Quinn disagreed and said Illinois needs to comply with the federal court order, while adding his two cents that concealed carry on public transit is a bad idea.