The right of Gov. Pat Quinn to play with the Illinois Constitution in the name of gun control has been infringed.
State lawmakers during the fall veto session that ended Wednesday resoundingly rejected an amendatory veto by Quinn that turned a bill allowing Illinois residents to buy ammunition through the mail from in-state vendors into an assault weapons ban.
Quinn borrowed the language from a ban that has passed committee in the House but has never been called because it doesn't have the votes to pass. He completely rewrote the ammunition bill, which resoundingly passed both houses, in the wake of the Aurora, Colo. theater shooting.
Both houses resoundingly voted to use Quinn's veto for musket wadding. The Senate voted last week, 49-4, to override, and the House on Wednesday did the same on a 78-28 vote.
Law-abiding gun owners like myself get more options to buy ammuntion, and Quinn got publicity, so it's a win-win.
It's pretty obvious that Quinn overstepped his constitutional authority to, unfortunately, take advantage of a true tragedy. The Illinois Supreme Court has ruled (hat tip to Capitol Fax) that the Illinois Constitution forbids a governor from using the amendatory veto to substitute a completely new bill.
Of course, I cited this very item as one example of many in another blog post about how the Illinois Constitution is not even worth the paper it's printed on.
Quinn said he would work hard to get an assault weapons ban passed in the next session.
Hopefully, this means he will do something harmless like create a cute mascot along the lines of Squeezy the Pension Python to address the need for gun control. I vote for Shooty the Weapon-Owning Honey Badger or Petey the Pistol-Packing Porcupine.
Or Quinn could do something more sneaky, like dangle the promise of high-paying government jobs and boosting those sweet, sweet pensions to the 35 outgoing lawmakers if they would pretty please, with sugar on top, vote for a ban.
After all, it worked to raise our income taxes 67 percent – temporarily, of course. And if the rumors that have swirled through Springfield for months are true, it might work again next month to make them permanent.
For additional reading, I blogged earlier this year the thought that recent gun control bills being floated by state lawmakers might have less to do with public safety and more to do with a gun grab as the state spirals toward economic oblivion.
Senior Writer Kevin Craver can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.