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Court strikes down Illinois’ concealed carry ban

CHICAGO (AP) — In a major victory for gun rights advocates, a federal appeals court on Tuesday struck down a ban on carrying concealed weapons in Illinois — the only remaining state where carrying concealed weapons is entirely illegal — and gave lawmakers 180 days to write a law that legalizes it.

In overturning a lower court decision, the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the ban was unconstitutional and suggested a law legalizing concealed carry is long overdue in a state where gun advocates had vowed to challenge the ban on every front.

“There is no suggestion that some unique characteristic of criminal activity in Illinois justifies the state’s taking a different approach from the other 49 states,” Judge Richard Posner, who wrote the court’s majority opinion. “If the Illinois approach were demonstrably superior, one would expect at least one or two other states to have emulated it.”

Gun rights advocates were thrilled by the decision. They have long argued that the prohibition violates the U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment and what they see as Americans’ right to carry guns for self-defense.

“Christmas came early for law-abiding gun owners,” said state Rep. Brandon Phelps, a Democratic lawmaker from southern Illinois whose proposed legislation approving concealed carry narrowly lost in the Legislature last year. “It’s a mandate.”

Gov. Pat Quinn, who favors strict gun control laws, was reviewing the opinion and did not have immediate comment, according to a spokeswoman. Attorney General Lisa Madigan, whose office is responsible for defending the state’s laws in court, will review the ruling before deciding whether to appeal or take other action, said spokeswoman Maura Possley.

“The court gave 180 days before its decision will be returned to the lower court to be implemented,” Possley said in a statement. “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.”

Richard Pearson, the executive director of the Illinois State Rifle Association, said there is no reason why lawmakers cannot pass Phelps’ bill during a weeklong legislative session in January. “Now that the court has ruled … we will work as soon as possible with legislators to craft a concealed carry bill for the state of Illinois,” he said.

The court did order its ruling stayed 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,” Posner wrote.

Phelps suggested that the court, in its 2-1 ruling, may have encouraged lawmakers to pass a far less restrictive concealed carry law than the one he proposed last year that was rejected. “I said on the floor, ‘A lot of people who voted against this, one of these days you’re going to wish you did, because of all the limitations and the safety precautions we put in this bill, because one of these days the court’s going to rule and you’re not going to like the ruling,” he said. “Today’s the day.”

The appellate panel’s majority ruling, which was replete with historical references, argued that Illinois had not made a strong case that a gun ban was vital to public safety. It also was a signal to state lawmakers and gun-ban activists that the time to argue about the Second Amendment has passed.

“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,” wrote Posner. “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.”

But the dissenting judge, Ann Claire Williams, raised questions that could come up in a possible appeal or when lawmakers begin to debate and craft a new law addressing the issue. After saying that “protecting the safety of its citizens is unquestionably a significant state interest,” Williams wrote, “when firearms are carried outside the home, the safety of a broader range of citizens is at issue. The risk of being injured or killed now extends to strangers, law enforcement personnel, and other private citizens who happen to be in the area.”

Gun rights advocates had been threatening to make Illinois once again the center of the national gun-control debate over the issue. In 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court made Chicago’s 28-year-old handgun ban unenforceable, ruling that Americans have the right to have guns in their homes for protection. The city responded by approving alternative methods of restricting who can have guns.

Gun control advocates did not immediately respond to the ruling. But as other states passed concealed carry laws, they had argued that Illinois’ ban was important for their stance in the national debate over gun control.

The country needs “one state people can look to and see it’s still doing the right thing,” Mark Walsh, director of the Illinois Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, said last year. The ruling Monday stems from a lawsuit filed by a former corrections officer, Michael Moore of Champaign, a farmer, Charles Hooks of Percy in southeastern Illinois and the Bellevue, Wash.-based Second Amendment Foundation.

John O’Connor was reporting from Springfield.

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6 Responses to Court strikes down Illinois’ concealed carry ban

  1. NC says:

    ““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,” wrote Posner. “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.””

    Wait! I thought it was bad to have a gun in your home. Now it is good to have a gun in your home, but bad outside your home? I’m confused with all of these excuses. One day they say there shouldn’t be guns in your homes and now they say it is ok as long as it is not outside your home and then tomorrow they will say, it’s ok in your car but not inside your home or outside your car and home. Now they are just being ridiculous since they can’t find a way to take away our guns. Just like that old senile security supervisor at that airport in that video a few weeks ago asking for a copy of a million dollar insurance plan. I mean really. These assholes just don’t know when to give up. And to give them another 180 days to re-convene on the issue? Are you kidding me? That’s like giving the demonic government a second chance to take away our rights. IT’S OVER! YOU LOST! GUN OWNERS WIN!! GET OVER IT, POLITICIANS!!! MOVE ON WITH MORE IMPORTANT THINGS, LIKE BRINGING JOBS BACK TO AMERICA!!!

    • diggerdan says:

      Ya see NC, they want to tell us all we can have guns/firearm, but they want that so called – self employed – power trip to tell us all who can own/possess a gun/firearm…….. What them dum asses do not seem to understand is that there is a group of people that are felons – because of some sensless non-violent law – out there that realy do like firearms but because of their laws – us guys that they say are not supposed to have a firearm in our possession are always thinking of alternative weapons to use against the cops, snitches, law makers, and traitors. And they better just let well enough alone if they know what is good tor themselves!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. oldvet says:

    It causes an Excedrin headache trying to figure out their lunacy.

    course most crap these days gives my old head a hurtin

  3. ChewyBees says:

    Actually it’s not really all that hard to figure out, one just needs to change the characters playing out the performance. Where you see ‘judge’, change the character to a high tier Consigliere. Where you see ‘politician’, plug in capo boss or godfather. Where you see ‘police’, ‘officer’, ‘detective’, or ‘agent’, plug in soldier or button. Where you see ‘government’ plug in family.

    Now that the characters are properly identified, it’s very easy to see that gangsters and mobsters do not want guns in the hands of anyone in their neighborhood except themselves. They aren’t going to tolerate any resistance from the people they extort from. They aren’t going to accept complaint, argument or threat to their long established rackets. In their minds people are there to pay them off in a protection scheme, and those that resist will be warned, then threatened, then harmed, then their family threatened, then harmed. Their home and business will be burned to the ground, they’ll be beaten to within an inch of their life, they’ll be murdered with pain and disappeared, a solid message to any other uppity neighborhood fools that don’t know who is in charge.

    In reality, the brutal harshness portrayed in movies like The Godfather and Goodfellas is baby shit compared to the extent of hatred the international mob has for 8 billion others. These people have been at it for centuries and longer, they have fine tuned their art beyond belief, which is why nobody that is outside of it ever believes it.

    Illinois is waist deep in it because chicago is neck deep in it. I give long odds that any nonsense like citizens protecting themselves is going to fly in Cook County. They will delay and debunk and demonize because they know that people with guns take away the absolute power the government men crave like Capone at a whiskey tasting.

  4. # 1 NWO Hatr says:

    Gee, that might even contribute to a drop in the crime rate in Gangland….er, I mean Chitcago.

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