Court Strikes Down Illinois’ Gun Ban

Illinois is the last state in the U.S. to have an outright prohibition on concealed carry. Residents can own guns but only keep them in their house. They’re not even allowed to carry an unloaded gun in public. Last year, a Democrat state Representative Brandon Phelps sponsored a bill that would have allowed concealed carry, albeit with many limitations. The Governor and Rahm Emanuel both lobbied against the bill, and it eventually failed 65 – 32.

Soon, however, their prohibition against concealed weapons in public will be a thing of the past because a U.S. Appeals Court struck down Illinois’ ban. The court has instructed Illinois to enact legislation in the next 180 days that allows concealed carry.

Gun control proponents are up in arms about the court’s decision, and one gun control advocacy group said, “Today’s decision is disappointing, but not surprising. The strategy of the NRA and the gun-rights organizations has been to litigate where they can’t legislate.” Oh, come on. Like liberals never litigate when they don’t get their way.

Following the court’s decision, state Representative Phelps’ bill might be revived or a bill closely resembling it. Phelps surprisingly is a Democrat. I don’t know anything about his voting record or what his other positions are, but as far as gun control is concerned, he seems to get it. He said,

 “There are a lot of people in the city of Chicago who are scared to say if they are for concealed carry. I had numerous people email and call me from Chicago and Cook County who said they wanted this day to happen — people who couldn’t say something, but maybe worked for the city or county. I think you’ll see a reduction in violence because right now, the criminals know there’s no one legally who can defend themselves. If I’m a gang member, and I now know there’s concealed carry, if I try to steal that person’s bag, I’ll be careful what I do because that person might have a gun.”

Granted, his legislation has many limitations in it as far as permit eligibility, background checks, safety guidelines, required training classes, etc. But considering that Illinois previously had the strictest gun laws in the nation, I think it’s a step in the right direction, and because of the court’s decision, Illinois now has to come up with legislation allowing concealed carry.

Judge Posner, who isn’t by any means a conservative judge, at least understood the far-reaching elements of the Second Amendment to include places outside the home as well as inside. He wrote,

 “The Supreme Court has decided that the [Second] 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.”

 It’s quite telling that a liberal judge and an Illinois Democrat have both moved in the direction of gun freedom. Maybe there is hope for America.