In a major victory for gun rights advocates, the United States Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit in Chicago, on Tuesday December 11, struck down a ban on carrying concealed weapons in Illinois, the only remaining state where carrying concealed weapons is entirely illegal.
In issuing its ruling, among other cases and papers, the Appellate court cited the NCPA’s 2000 study, Texas Concealed Handgun Carriers: Law-abiding Public Benefactors.
The case before the court combined two cases brought by multiple parties including the Illinois State Rifle Association, the National Rifle Association and the Second Amendment Foundation on behalf of two different sets of Illinois resident’s affected by the Illinois carry ban. In issuing its ruling, the majority opinion written by Judge Richard Posner, found that the lower courts had clearly ignored the fact that two recent rulings by the Supreme Court: Heller and McDonald (versus Chicago) which made clear the right to keep and bear arms was an individual right and that, since one reason was for self-protection, people had the right to self-defense outside the home as well as inside. The court ruled that the lower courts was not, as is typical, remanding the case to the lower courts for evidentiary proceedings since the case did not concern evidence but the law and as a matter of law the Supreme Court of the United States had spoken. The case was sent back to the lower courts with a directive to declare the Illinois bans unconstitutional and issue a permanent injunction. It did stay the implementation of the ruling for 180 days in order to allow the legislature time to write a law that legalizes carrying firearms outside the home.
In May 2011, a strong majority of the Illinois House voted on a bill to legalize concealed carry by a 65-32 vote. Seventy-one votes were necessary for passage of the legislation, House Bill 148, which was lobbied against by Gov. Pat Quinn and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. With upstate Illinois, especially Chicago’s, antipathy towards the reasonable exercise of individual’s fundamental gun rights, it is likely that Chicago’s mayor will work with Governor Pat Quinn and upstate legislators to make concealed carry as difficult as possible for Illinois residents. This is the next battle ground for freedom.