CHICAGO – Illinois lawmakers have 180 days to craft a new law that allows concealed carry of weapons, according to a federal appellate court opinion handed down this morning.
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling stemmed from a case that challenged Illinois’ law against carrying concealed weapons.
“We are disinclined to engage in another round of historical analysis to determine whether eighteenth-century American understood the Second Amendment to include a right to bear guns outside the home,” wrote Judge Richard Posner in the court’s majority opinion.
“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,” Posner wrote.
Illinois is the only state in which concealed carry is completely illegal.
Gun-rights advocates say the law against carrying concealed weapons violates the U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment.
Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan‘s office says it is reviewing the ruling and will comment later today.
Posner wrote that Illinois had to provide the court 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 Supreme Court’s interpretation of the Second Amendment therefore compels us to reverse the decisions in the two cases before us and remand them to their respective district courts for the entry of declarations of unconstitutionality and permanent injunctions,” he wrote.
“Nevertheless we order our mandate stayed for 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.”
The ruling stems from a lawsuit, Moore vs. Madigan, filed by former corrections officer Michael Moore of Champaign; Charles Hooks, a farmer in the southern Illinois town of Percy; and Washington-based Second Amendment Foundation.
Alan Gottlieb, founder and vice president of the Second Amendment Foundation, said the group is happy with the opinion.
“This is a victory for Illinois citizens who have been long denied a right recognized in the other 49 states – to have the means necessary for self-defense outside the home,” he said. “In the broader sense, this ruling affirms that the right to keep and bear arms, itself, extends beyond the boundary of one’s front door. This is a huge victor for the Second Amendment.”