SAF win confirmed: Illinois has just months to create concealed carry laws, or defaults to constitutional carry
The Second Amendment Foundation today won a significant victory for concealed carry when the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals let stand a December ruling by a three-judge panel of the court that forces Illinois to adopt a concealed carry law, thus affirming that the right to bear arms exists outside the home.
The ruling came in Moore v. Madigan, a case filed by SAF. The December opinion that now stands was written by Judge Richard Posner, who gave the Illinois legislature 180 days to “craft a new gun law that will impose reasonable limitations, consistent with the public safety and the Second Amendment…on the carrying of guns in public.” That clock is ticking, noted SAF Executive Vice President Alan Gottlieb.
“Illinois lawmakers need to create some kind of licensing system or face the prospect of not having any regulations at all when Judge Posner’s deadline arrives,” Gottlieb said. “They need to act. They can no longer run and hide from this mandate.”
“We were delighted with Judge Posner’s ruling in December,” he continued, “and today’s decision by the entire circuit to allow his ruling to stand is a major victory, and not just for gun owners in Illinois. Judge Posner’s ruling affirmed that the right to keep and bear arms, itself, extends beyond the boundary of one’s front door.”
In December, Judge Posner wrote, “The right to ‘bear’ as distinct from the right to ‘keep’ arms is unlikely to refer to the home. To speak of ‘bearing’ arms within one’s home would at all times have been an awkward usage. A right to bear arms thus implies a right to carry a loaded gun outside the home.”
Judge Posner subsequently added, “To confine the right to be armed to the home is to divorce the Second Amendment from the right of self-defense described in Heller and McDonald.”
While Democrats have a 40-19 advantage in the Illinois Senate and a 71-47 advantage in the legislature, the Republicans have a distinct advantage: time. They can filibuster, delay, amend and otherwise obstruct the sort of draconian “may-issue” legislation the Democrats would prefer in favor of the more commonly accepted “shall-issue”permitting that is prevalent in the rest of the nation.
If Democrats refuse to work with Republicans on “shall issue” permitting, then clever Republicans—if they exist in Illinois—can threaten to use parliamentary procedures to run out the clock, which expires in June. If that occurs, residents will have constitutional carry: any gun, almost anywhere, at any time.
There is no way Illinois Democrats would let that happen, so it will be interesting to see how the minority Republicans choose to play the strong hand that they’ve been dealt.