Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Illinois Ban on Concealed Carry Ruled Unconstitutional

In December a federal appeals court ruled Illinois' ban on concealed carry unconstitutional. State lawmakers have been mandated to write a new law that legalizes concealed carry within 180 days. If the decision is appealed to the US Supreme court the case could have national repercussions especially as President Obama is trying to pass even tougher gun control laws.

Judge Richard Posner wrote in the court's majority ruling that the United States Supreme Court "has decided that the (Second) Amendment confers a right to bear arms for self-defense, which as important outside the home as inside."

One of the cases the 7th Circuit decision addressed was that of Mary Shepard, an Illinois resident with no criminal record who is licensed to carry a concealed weapon in two other states, however was prohibited by Illinois law from carrying a firearm when she and an 83-year-old coworker were viciously attacked by a 6 foot 3 inch, 245 pound man with an extensive violent past and criminal record.

Mary Shepard was lucky to survive, however she required surgery and physical therapy as a result of her injuries.

Judge Posner wrote in the majority decision "One doesn't have to be a historian to realize that a right to keep and bear arms for personal self-defense in the eighteenth century could not rationally have been limited to the home...a Chicagoan is a good deal more likely to be attacked on a sidewalk then in his apartment on the 35th floor."

The NRA claims that firearms are used for personal protection more than 2 million times a year and that "the presence of a firearm, without a shot being fired, prevents crime in many instances."

It's nice to read a story in which a branch of our government, in this case the Judicial branch, still recognizes the validity of the US Constitution. It gives me hope that if efforts to stop any new gun legislation that violate our rights make it into law, they will be challenged and struck down. Of course the frustration of it all is that cases before federal courts can take years to play through. Americans don't have years to wait when it comes to the safety and security of themselves, their families and friends. I'm certain Illinois lawmakers will write a law that makes obtaining a concealed carry permit tedious and frustrating yet still possible. The fact remains however that when it's all said and done, Illinois will be a safer place to live because of this decision.

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