• Appeals court gives state lawmakers 180 days to develop concealed carry law
Illinois may soon join the rest of the country in allowing citizens to carry weapons after the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Dec. 11 the state’s ban on carrying a weapon in public was unconstitutional.
In its 2-1 opinion, the appeals court wrote: “We are disinclined to engage in another round of historical analysis to determine whether eighteenth-century America understood the Second Amendment to include a right to bear guns outside the home. The Supreme Court has decided that the amendment confers a right to bear arms for self-defense, which is as important outside the home as inside.
“The theoretical and empirical evidence (which overall is inconclusive) is consistent with concluding that a right to carry firearms in public may promote self-defense. Illinois had to provide us with more than merely a rational basis for believing that its uniquely sweeping ban is justified by an increase in public safety. It has failed to meet this burden.”
The court gave 180 days to “allow the Illinois legislature to craft a new gun law that will impose reasonable limitations, consistent with the public safety and the Second Amendment as interpreted in this opinion, on the carrying of guns in public.”
David Sigale, the attorney who represented the Second Amendment Foundation in the lawsuit, termed the appeals court’s decision “historic.”
“What we are most pleased about is how the court has recognized that the Second Amendment is just as, if not at times more, important in public as it is in the home,” Sigale said in a Chicago Tribune report. “The right of self-defense doesn’t end at your front door.”
Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan (D) has reportedly said her office will examine the ruling before deciding whether to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.
“The court gave 180 days before its decision will be returned to the lower court to be implemented,” said Natalie Bauer, Madigan’s spokesman, in the Tribune report. “That time period allows our office to review what legal steps can be taken and enables the legislature to consider whether it wants to take action.”
Meantime, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn (D), who has said he would oppose any law allowing citizens to carry loaded guns in public, is reviewing the ruling. Quinn has previously threatened to veto attempts by lawmakers to pass concealed carry laws.
Illinois is the only state in the nation not to have some form of concealed carry law. Wisconsin enacted a concealed carry law Nov. 1, 2011.
State Sen. Dave Syverson, R-Rockford, said of the court’s decision: “Today is a great day for the citizens of Illinois and potentially marks an end to the struggle that gun owners and Second Amendment supporters have faced for far too long in our state. I am looking forward to working with my legislative colleagues to craft a concealed-carry bill that will meet the constitutionality of this case and finally allow Illinoisans to exercise a basic right of self-protection.”
State Rep. Joe Sosnowski, R-Belvidere, added: “My constituents overwhelmingly support the right to concealed carry, and while we’ve got a long way to go for this process to play out, I’m pleased the courts are forcing this discussion onto the legislative leaders who have bottlenecked this issue for too long. It’s time we resolve this issue and provide full rights to law-abiding gun owners.”
From the Dec. 12-18, 2012, issue