Illinois

Gun Rights Find a New Home

A federal appeals court rules Illinois cannot maintain its flat ban on concealed-carry.

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There are certain constants to life in Illinois. Abraham Lincoln has always been revered. The Cubs always find a way to lose. Lake Michigan never goes dry. Letting citizens carrying concealed firearms is out of the question.

But one of those is no longer true. Tuesday, a federal appeals court said the state cannot maintain its flat ban on concealed-carry—a policy that makes it unique among the 50 states. In 2008, the Supreme Court ruled that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to have and use a gun for self-protection. Extending the logic of that decision, the appeals court said this freedom includes the right to carry a weapon outside the home.

"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 Park Tower," wrote Judge Richard Posner. "To confine the right to be armed to the home is to divorce the Second Amendment from the right of self-defense…"

This decision comes as a surprise, partly because it does not appear to be strictly in line with what the court said in the 2008 case. "Like most rights, the right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited," wrote Justice Antonin Scalia. "For example, the majority of the 19th-century courts to consider the question held that prohibitions on carrying concealed weapons were lawful under the Second Amendment or state analogues."

The court also specifically accepted "laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings"—even though the need for self-defense may arise in those places. But some eminent legal scholars, like UCLA's Eugene Volokh, agree with the appeals court's view that "the Second Amendment secures a right to keep and bear arms outside the home, possibly subject to some regulation and limitation."

It's hard to overstate what a radical step this is in Illinois, with its stubbornly impervious suspicion of guns in general and handguns in particular. Sure, there are hunters and target shooters, but they have limited sway with lawmakers.

The resistance to concealed weapons makes it an outlier. So does its law requiring a state permit, known as a Firearm Owners Identification card, to buy a gun or ammunition. Chicago (along with a couple of other cities) had a complete ban on handgun ownership, which lasted until 2010, when the Supreme Court struck it down.

Elected officials are given to pronouncements that would be politically fatal in most states. When asked by a reporter a couple of years ago if Chicago's handgun ban was actually effective in reducing crime, Mayor Richard Daley brandished a rifle with a mounted bayonet and replied, "If I put this up your butt, you'll find out how effective it is."

Democratic State Sen. Donne Trotter opposed a bill legalizing concealed-carry because it would mean "creating part-time police officers who have not gone through the extensive training, who have not had the psychological evaluations, who will be getting out there who feel now that they are stronger, they are badder, they are tougher because they have this nine-shooter on their hip."

That statement should not be interpreted to mean the senator is opposed to the idea in all circumstances. Last week, Trotter was arrested for allegedly trying to board a commercial airplane with a handgun in his carry-on bag.

The appeals court ruling provoked the usual gasps and grumps from local politicians. Mayor Rahm Emanuel's office pronounced itself "disappointed." Democratic State Rep. Eddie Acevedo said parts of the city may resemble "the wild, wild West"—as though they were islands of tranquility right now.

What other states have figured out is that forbidding citizens from carrying concealed weapons does not enhance public safety, because it doesn't prevent criminals from getting or packing guns. All it does is prevent scrupulously law-abiding individuals from using such weapons to protect themselves from attack. It punishes the victims, not the villains.

The same fears expressed by anti-gun alarmists here were expressed elsewhere, only to be proved groundless. A 2004 study by the National Academy of Sciences found "no credible evidence that 'right-to-carry' laws, which allow qualified adults to carry concealed handguns, either decrease or increase violent crime."

When it comes to day-to-day life, in fact, the change will be no big deal. But for Illinois residents to finally have the freedom to make their own choices—now, that is a big deal.

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  1. What a farce. There is actually a serious argument, and pages and pages of painstaking analysis, over whether the statement that “the right to keep and bear arms shll not be infringed” prohibits a state from banning the bearing of arms.

    This shoule be a three sentence, unanimous opinion.

    1. Not so long as we have people like Noam Chomsky to revise and reinterpret what those who wrote it *REALLY* meant.

      Failing that, it’s just a goddamn piece of paper written by a bunch of Old White Slave-Owning Capitalist Scumbags and we need to draft a new Constitution that speaks better for the needs of the modern Social Justice era, like giving the government monopoly over everything and granting animals the right to sue in a court of law.

  2. When asked by a reporter a couple of years ago if Chicago’s handgun ban was actually effective in reducing crime, Mayor Richard Daley brandished a rifle with a mounted bayonet and replied, “If I put this up your butt, you’ll find out how effective it is.”

    Er… what was his point [NO PUN], exactly?

    1. Fuck you, that’s why.

    2. I think his point was “I am a brutal thug, and I don’t much like your questioning of me.”

    3. Might makes right.

    4. His point was to illustrate that if somebody tries to sodomize you with a bayonet, you have no effective means of defense. Right? Right?

    5. “I am god of Chicago how dare you use your mouth for aught but to fellate me!”

      Even with Rahm taking his place, I’m so glad that fascist fuck is gone.

      1. “fascist” was a sloppy choice. Please replace with “autocratic, despotic”.

        1. Oh, he was a fascist too. The parking meter deal went through under Daley after all.

  3. “Letting citizens carrying concealed firearms is out of the question.”

    Letting citizens carrying concealed firearms DO WHAT?! I NEED A VERB HERE CHAPMAN.

  4. “creating part-time police officers who have not gone through the extensive training, who have not had the psychological evaluations, who will be getting out there who feel now that they are stronger, they are badder, they are tougher because they have this nine-shooter on their hip.”

    And these people would be different than the current police force… how? Oh, right, they would actually be accountable for their actions.

    1. That and they’d have a lot more practice with their firearms.

      1. Lord how that statement so thoroughly describes the type of douche that IS a cop. Most of ’em without the badge and gun would shake like a dog shitting peach seeds in any one on one confrontation.

        1. I almost spewed my coffee when I read this. Very funny.

  5. Look for Illinois to implement a discretionary issue CCW scheme, as in New Jersey where the chief of police decides whether to issue you a CCW permit. Unless you are politically connected, or can demonstrate what they consider a ‘legitimate need’, you cannot get a CCW in new Jersey.

    1. No. The state legislature was only something like 3 votes short of overriding the governor’s veto on a shall-issue CCW bill, which would also pre-empt city and county overrides.

      If the legislature does nothing and the current ban expires in 180 days, IL would be like Vermont for those with an FOID. Thus the gunnies have all the bargaining chips. IL will probably get a pretty normal shall-issue CCW, possibly including discarding the FOID.

      1. Thats the assessment I’ve heard from some of the folks who have been on the front lines of getting CCW passed in Illinois.

        The go-to legislator for concealed carry in the Illinois House (a Democrat even) had this to say after the ruling:

        “I said on the floor, ‘A lot of people who voted against this, one of these days you’re going to wish you did, because of all the limitations and the safety precautions we put in this bill, because one of these days the court’s going to rule and you’re not going to like the ruling,” he said. “Today’s the day.”

        1. Ah. So this would predict legal carry in the State, perhaps unrestricted, but restrictions at the city level.

          Perhaps the end result would be some sort of state level shall issue law that preempts Chicago nonsense.

  6. This case wasn’t about CONCEALED CARRY. It was about CARRY. The 7th Circuit leaves it to Illinois to decide whether it should be OPEN or CONCEALED. So it’s not inconsistent to say that States can can concealed carry, but must allow some form of carry.

    The obvious outcome is that Illinois will adopt the highly restrictive New York law requiring that the applicant for a permit demonstrate an elevated risk. The 7th Circuit expressed skepticism for the NY law, but did not explicitly denounce it.

    1. I’m quite curious to see how this plays out. You outline one potential “obvious outcome,” but I’m not so sure if that’s really the most likely. Another article I read on this cited a big chunk of change the state thought it could make on permitting fees?and IL needs that sweet sweet cash money. Plus, after Heller and McDonald, how much more do they really want to get slapped around? Far be it from me to defend IL’s record on gun rights, which is terrible, but the post-McDonald situation in Chicago is much less terrible than I thought it would be, even if it is still very bad.

      That said, I won’t make up my mind on which way I think this is going until I hear whether Lisa Madigan is going to appeal the decision or not. Do we know that yet? If she does, I will assume IL will just go full retard. But I’m holding out hope; the momentum is away from the kind of hoop-jumping may-issue bullshit of places like NY and NJ, though legislators may always be stupid enough to pass something like that even if it does look in danger of being struck down.

    2. No. See my comment above. The IL legislature came very close to passing a shall-issue CCW over the governor’s veto, and is in a much stronger bargaining position now because without any new bill, the current law disappears in 180 days, so the hoplophobes will be desperate to pass anything.

    3. So it’s not inconsistent to say that States can ban concealed carry, but must allow some form of carry.

      Shall. Not. Be. Infringed.

      Tell me, how is banning open or concealed carry not an infringement on the right to bear arms?

      1. It’s a collective right, RC. So while no private individual can lawfully carry, collectively we can do so through the arming of the police – to a person, benevolent and selfless – to the teeth.

        1. That’s an old argument that went out in the 70’s. It has been determined it is an individual right.

        2. And how’s that police response time workin’ out for ya? 😛

        3. Actually, this point is quite profound: can a group (militia, police, etc) have rights that the individuals qua individuals do not have?

          If the right is only existent because the government has granted it powers of defense, then it is a government granted charter of some sort, and not a right as traditionally understood.

          I’ve never seen the anti-gun crowd successfully explain how the right to self defense using guns as a protected instrumentality can be legitimate only insofar as the gov’t has blessed the group holding the guns, but not the individuals in the group.

      2. Oh please. It’s neither logically nor historically inconsistent to ban concealed carry in the context of legal open carry.

  7. New York law requiring that the applicant for a permit demonstrate an elevated risk

    How can that (and the other in NJ) be constitutional, i.e. satisfy the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause?

    1. Only government employees with law degrees from ivy league colleges are qualified to interpret complex legal language like “shall not.”

      You probably think those two words mean what they say, but that’s because you’re an uneducated civilian.

      Their true meaning is much more complicated than that.

    2. How can that (and the other in NJ) be constitutional, i.e. satisfy the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause?

      Basically, because “Fuck you, that’s why.”
      Judges in NJ have told people being tried on firearms charges that “The Second Amendment is not available to you as a defense”, because that is settled law in NJ.

      1. “The Second Amendment is not available to you as a defense”

        “Well judge, if I can’t refer to the Bill of Rights to defend myself against charges brought pursuant to a usurpation falsely presented as a law, then this is not a court of law at all, and I will not participate. I will not enter a “plea”, but I will instead denounce you in a manner fitting to addressing a minion of a tyrant. In other words, FUCK YOU.”

        -jcr

    3. Should be easy to demonstrate “elevated risk”…

      “I live in NYC.”

      If that’s not good enough you could point out that “it’s right next to Jersey.”

      1. Imagine how laughable it would be in Chicago.

  8. The schadenfreude is delicious. Actually, that’s wrong – there’s nothing shameful about being happy about this.

    1. 🙂

    2. Laffer laffed.

  9. OT: Chinese woman tasered for trying to buy more iPhones than “allowed”

    And this in NH, where the state motto is “Live Free Or Die”.

    1. Yeah. Its not “Live Free or Be Tasered.”

      Sounds like she got off easy.

    2. Capt. Bruce Hansen of the Nashua Police Department saw another side, saying of Li’s grasp of English, “She’s certainly capable of coming up here and purchasing these things from the Apple Store here. Whether her language inhibited that, I really don’t know.”

      You stupid fuck.

  10. She should’ve left when the store asked her to leave. Apple isn’t obligated to sell her more phones than their policy dictates.

    1. She should’ve left when the store asked her to leave.

      That’s true I guess. She should have asked her daughter to round up mall rats to buy the iPhones for a $10 fee and hand it over to her.

  11. When will these publicly elected idiots figure out in their tiny, peanut-sized brains that criminals DO NOT FOLLOW THE LAW???

    1. The purpose of the law isn’t to stop criminals. It’s intended to make more of them.

      1. Criminals help justify the existence publicly elected idiots.

  12. Yo, Mayor Rahm,

    You want a dialogue on guns? Here it is.

  13. merry christmas to u,thank you so much.

  14. Hurray! One thing this country definitely needs is more people walking around with guns! I’m sure Abraham Lincoln would have approved, had he survived his shooting. And I bet the twenty kids killed today in Connecticut are consoled that they died to protect the Second Amendment.
    All those bleeding heart gun control types should remember: If God didn’t want us to have guns, He wouldn’t have invented the laws of projectile physics. As James Madison (or somebody) said, “Personal liberty comes from the barrel of a gun.”

  15. The appeals court ruling provoked the usual gasps and grumps from local politicians. Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s office http://www.cheapbeatsbydreonau.com/ pronounced itself “disappointed.” Democratic State Rep.

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