With Illinois concealed gun ban struck down, some say 'Fight on'

Even as Illinois lawmakers contemplate a new law allowing concealed weapons, as ordered by a US Appeals Court, some plan to take the fight against the 'wrongheaded' ruling to the next level.

Seth Perlman/AP
In this March file photo, gun owners and supporters participate in an Illinois Gun Owners Lobby Day rally at the Illinois State Capitol in Springfield. In a big victory for gun rights advocates, a federal appeals court on Tuesday, Dec. 11, struck down a ban on carrying concealed weapons in Illinois.

Now that Illinois’ last-in-the-nation prohibition on carrying concealed weapons has been struck down, lawmakers in Springfield are faced with figuring out the details of where, when, and who can carry a concealed weapon in the state even as some advocate fighting the decision all the way up to the Supreme Court.

The 7th US Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the state's prohibition as unconstitutional on Tuesday. In his decision, Judge Richard Posner wrote that there is legal precedence for maintaining that gun use outside the home is warranted for self-defense.

“Twenty-first century Illinois has no hostile Indians,” he wrote. “But 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. A woman who is being stalked … is more vulnerable to being attacked while walking to or from her home than when inside.”

The court gave Illinois 180 days to revise its gun law to allow the carrying of guns in public.

Maura Possley, press secretary for Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, says the “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.”

Already, there are calls for Attorney General Madigan to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court. Some Chicago aldermen, fearing that overturning the ban will contribute to the city’s rising homicide rate, suggested that the city has the power to ban or restrict the use of concealed weapons within city limits. That tactic could be a long shot, however, considering that the city failed to get the Supreme Court to uphold its longstanding handgun ban, which the court declared unconstitutional in 2010.

On Wednesday, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel told reporters he pledged to make available legal resources from the city’s law and police department to Ms. Madigan’s team in reviewing options in making a possible appeal to the court ruling he described as “wrongheaded.”

Proponents for gun rights and stricter gun regulation are likely to battle over the next six months as lawmakers draft the state’s new gun law, which will determine the process for obtaining conceal carry permits, establish where gun owners are not allowed to carry weapons, and create restrictions on who can carry a concealed weapon based on criminal or mental health histories.

States vary widely on all these details. For example, while most states do not allow concealed weapons in churches, or other houses of worship, it is allowed by a handful of states, including Texas, unless the institution posts a sign saying they are banned. In Wisconsin, gun owners are allowed to carry their weapons into taverns, but not if they are drinking alcohol. Some states honor permits only for their residents while others honor those of both residents and nonresidents.

“There are huge differences” in state law, says Cathie Whittenburg, communications director for States United to Prevent Gun Violence, who says she is hoping Illinois follows the lead of New York and New Jersey, which require gun owners to provide justification for a concealed carry permit beyond personal protection. In New Jersey, references are also needed, which is meant to guard against criminal activity.

Other states, such as Virginia, have much less oversight, and even issue permits to residents of some other states that are valid in those states if they complete an online gun class.

“Illinois would want to make a serious consideration in who gets these permits and why,” Ms. Whittenburg says. “You have all these people walking around with not a whole lot of training, certainly not the type of training that compares to our police force. Most states don’t take that seriously.”

In the discussions over concealed carry, Gov. Pat Quinn has already said he will press lawmakers to ban assault weapons in the state, telling reporters Wednesday that the public “overwhelmingly support that.”

“We aren’t going to have people marching along Michigan Avenue [in downtown Chicago], or any other avenue in the state of Illinois, with military-style assault weapons, weapons that are designed to kill people,” he said. 

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.
Real news can be honest, hopeful, credible, constructive.
What is the Monitor difference? Tackling the tough headlines – with humanity. Listening to sources – with respect. Seeing the story that others are missing by reporting what so often gets overlooked: the values that connect us. That’s Monitor reporting – news that changes how you see the world.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.

QR Code to With Illinois concealed gun ban struck down, some say 'Fight on'
Read this article in
QR Code to Subscription page
Start your subscription today