December 12, 2012

Illinois concealed weapon ban struck down

Gun rights backers interpret the 2-1 appellate court ruling as a mandate instructing lawmakers to pass a bill allowing citizens to carry concealed weapons in public with few if any restrictions.

Don Babwin / The Associated Press

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In this March 7, 2012, photo, gun owners and supporters participate in an Illinois Gun Owners Lobby Day rally at the Illinois State Capitol in Springfield.


But the majority included the 180-day stay of its ruling 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. The fight in the Legislature would be over what constitutes "reasonable limitations."

Among the biggest backers of the ban were powerful Chicago Democrats with a long tradition of support for gun control legislation; much of the rest of the state opposed the ban. Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn, an ardent gun control advocate who recently tried to revive a proposal for an assault weapons ban, was still reviewing the ruling, an aide said.

One provision in Phelps' bill that might be taken out, Pearson said, is a requirement for concealed-carry training specific to Illinois residents that is far more rigorous than in some other states, including Arizona and Wyoming, which Pearson said have far less stringent training requirements.

Pearson said another possibility is requiring training from any NRA instructor, as some states require. "You get certified and you're out the door," he said.

There also is likely to be debate over where concealed weapons can be carried. For example, Wisconsin decided that gun permit holders cannot carry weapons in schools, police stations or courtrooms but can carry weapons into taverns — if they weren't drinking. Private property owners can ban weapons in their buildings if they see fit.

Some gun control advocates believe their best chance is with the Supreme Court. It could be a long shot, given the court's rulings in the last few years — one overturning Chicago's 28-year-old handgun ban — that citizens have a Second Amendment right to have a gun for self-defense in their homes.

At the same time, Flynn Currie, the House Majority Leader, said she is encouraged by the court's silence on the right to carry concealed weapons, and wants Madigan to appeal the ruling.

The Supreme Court's rulings on the Second Amendment were "very limited, saying the home is your castle, and it didn't apply to other places," she said. "For that reason, it's worth checking on that question."


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