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Illinois concealed carry ban thrown out by federal appeals court

Wednesday, December 12, 2012
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Illinois is the last state in the nation without a concealed carry law. On Tuesday, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the current ban is unconstitutional.

LINK: Seventh Circuit concealed-carry decision

Judge Richard Posner wrote, "The Supreme Court has decided that the (2nd) amendment confers a right to bear arms for self-defense, which is as important outside the home as inside."

The appeals court is giving the Illinois Legislature 180 days to pass a new concealed carry law.

For some, it's a simple question of safety.

"I think it's important for the right to defend myself& More and more women are coming for self-defense for the home. They are afraid of someone breaking in their house with more and more break-ins during the day," said TD Roe, firearms instructor.

"By allowing people to carry concealed, they'll be able to protect themselves and will also make criminals less likely to attack people," Executive Director Richard Pearson, Illinois State Rifle Association, said.

Others disagree and believe it will add to the growing violence in the city.

"This is a real concern to me. And we already have a significant issue with gun violence in the city of Chicago and I can't see how this helps," Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle said.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel issued a written statement, "We are disappointed with the court's decision. The city is reviewing today's opinion..."

Attorney General Lisa Madigan, whose office is responsible for defending the state's laws, isn't saying yet whether she may appeal. Gun rights advocates say doing so would be a mistake.

"I would hate to see the state legislature waste time and money trying to do something else when we have the bill ready right now," Pearson said.

That bill - House Bill 148 - is currently before the legislature and would permit concealed carry for those who are 21 and over, have a FOID card, undergo an FBI background check that includes fingerprinting, take eight hours of classroom and range training, and pass a shooting proficiency test.

The fundamental argument against it has long been that concealed carry would lead to more gun violence, and deadly consequences that might otherwise not have been. Gun rights advocates say statistics in 49 other states refute that, and that the right of self-defense doesn't end at your front door.

"I assume that in 180 days if they don't come to some agreement, then we may revert to constitutional carry, which has no training. So it's in the state legislature's best interest to do this," Pearson said.

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