Illinois is the only state in the U.S. in which concealed carry is completely illegal. (photo by Mike Saechan/flickr)
The Associated Press
CHICAGO - A federal appeals court has struck down a ban on carrying concealed weapons in Illinois, the only state where carrying concealed weapons is entirely illegal.
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals announced Tuesday that state lawmakers have 180 days to write a new law that legalizes concealed carry.
The ruling is a victory for gun rights advocates, who argue that the prohibition against concealed weapons violates the U.S. Constitution's Second Amendment and what they see as Americans' right to carry guns for self-defense. Attorney General Lisa Madigan's office says it is reviewing the ruling and would comment Tuesday.
The ruling stems from a lawsuit filed by former corrections officer Michael Moore of Champaign, farmer Charles Hooks of Percy in southeastern Illinois and the Bellevue, Wash.-based Second Amendment Foundation.
Gov. Pat Quinn's office is reviewing the decision. Quinn has been in favor of strict gun control laws and proposed an assault weapons ban earlier this year, which lawmakers voted down. Spokeswoman Brooke Anderson said the Chicago Democrat's office is still reviewing the opinion.
State Sen. Bill Brady said he has consistently supported concealed carry legislation and hopes lawmakers can write a law to follow the court's ruling.
“The court’s welcome ruling today is a recognition that law-abiding citizens in Illinois have a right to defend and protect themselves, just as the citizens of the 49 other states do. In today’s society, men and women should have an opportunity to be as safe on the streets as they are in their own homes,” he said in a release.
State Rep. Jason Barickman also praised the decision.
“This court decision reinforces what many of us downstate have advocated for years; that our Second Amendment rights do not simply disappear when we step outside our home,” he said. “I would hope that this opinion paves the way for a vote on a conceal carry measure during the upcoming lame duck session that will commence January 3rd.”
State Representative Dan Brady cautions that it remains to be seen what the final results of appeals will be, but today's decision could proove to be monumental in bringing concealed carry to Illinois.
"It's obviously a big day for those advocates who have not only been pro-gun but the right to do what the Constitution says about the Second Amendment in the state of Illinois," said Brady.
Brady said the court decision makes for an interesting discussion in the Illinois General Assembly.
"It certainly sounds like the day is - if not upon us - very, very close to where there will be some form of concealed carry in Illinois," said Brady. "Whether or not our Attorney General will take the decision to the Supreme Court remains to be seen."
State Rep. Chapin Rose called the decision a "huge win" for the Constitution.
"If someone throws an apple at your head, you don't need a state law to tell you to duck," he said. "Self defense is self defense. It's instinctual, it's a natural reaction."
But, Rose said lawmakers' progress on drafting legislation will depend upon how willing Chicago lawmakers are to coming up with a compromise.
"They're going to try to come in with a permitting scheme that is so onerous that no one can qualify," Rose said.