WASHINGTON PARK — Gun owners shouldn't plan on taking weapons on city trains and buses just yet.
Chicago Transit Authority President Forrest Claypool said his agency would join the Chicago Police Department in arguing "vigorously" for a public-transit exemption to whatever concealed-carry legislation should pass in the General Assembly.
"We think it would be disastrous to allow passengers to carry concealed weapons on our trains and buses," Claypool said at the end of a news conference at the Green Line Garfield station Thursday.
"Think about the crowded conditions that occur on buses and trains, especially in the rush hour, and you can imagine how dangerous it would be to have a weapon bumped or discharge," he added. "It is clearly something that should be an exemption in the statute, and we'll continue to lobby vigorously."
Illinois is the only state in the nation that does not allow concealed carry, but a federal appeals court struck down that ban in December and gave the state 180 days to craft adequate legislation. Attorney General Lisa Madigan is contesting that ruling, but in the meantime the General Assembly is moving ahead with legislation.
As currently worded, the proposed new law would prohibit concealed weapons at schools, colleges, sporting events and other similarly congested gatherings, but Claypool said he would seek to have the CTA specifically included in those exemptions.
The Illinois House Judiciary Committee scheduled a Chicago hearing on the matter at 10 a.m. Friday at the Bilandic Building, 160 N. LaSalle St., and Claypool said the CTA planned to be represented, at very least by the Chicago Police Department, which patrols the CTA and backs the ban.