By Greg Campbell
In a shocking turn of events that led Illinois State Representative to proclaim, “Christmas came early for law-abiding gun owners,” the 7th Federal Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the decades-old ban on concealed-carrying of firearms in Illinois.
The 2-1 decision was a blow to the long-entrenched anti-gun political establishment of Illinois that until Tuesday, remained the only state in the union to have a complete prohibition against the lawful carrying of a concealed firearm.
Judge Richard Posner wrote in the court’s majority opinion,
“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 also addressed the issue of dangers that lurk outside the home, noting,
“A Chicagoan is a good deal more likely to be attacked on a sidewalk in a rough neighborhood than in his apartment on the 35th floor of the Park Tower.”
The ruling comes at a time in politics where gun control issues are largely discussed, but seldom acted upon as gun control measures have routinely failed to enhance security for the public and, according to several studies, have shown to leave law-abiding citizens more vulnerable to criminals.
The Supreme Court upheld the individual right to firearm ownership in the landmark decision of District of Columbia v. Heller in 2008. This right was affirmed for states in McDonald v. Chicago in 2010.
The Court granted 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.”
Already, gun control advocates are trying to decide if whether they should appeal to the Supreme Court or proceed with crafting new legislation to allow for the new mandate. Illinois House Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Currie, a Democrat and gun control advocate, stated,
“If we need to change the law, let us at least craft a law that is very severely constrained and narrowly tailored so that we don’t invite guns out of control on each of our city’s streets. I don’t want people out of control wandering the streets with guns that are out of control.”
While Currie paints a bleak picture, 49 other states have concealed-carry provisions that have not turned the streets into Wild West shootouts.
The battle for gun rights activists is far from over. However, this is a tremendous blow to the stubbornly unmovable politics surrounding firearms in Illinois and day for rejoicing for those who value the Second
Amendment and the right to self-protection.