Attorney general gets 30 extra days
Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan gets an extra 30 days to make up her mind about asking for a concealed-carry review.
Attorney General Lisa Madigan sought and last week the U.S. Supreme Court granted her request for an additional 30 days to decide whether to seek high court review of a decision striking down the state's ban on concealed carry.
The court's decision is a good one for Madigan because she will know by the new June 24 deadline what no one knows now — whether the Legislature has responded to a federal court order to pass concealed carry and, if it does, what rules the concealed carry law will establish.
Depending on what the Legislature does, Madigan may conclude that it's unnecessary to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to review last December's ruling by a federal appeals court in Chicago. Our view is that whatever action the Legislature takes, Madigan should ask for Supreme Court review to clarify the law on a nationwide basis.
Appeals courts in two other federal circuits have taken a contrary views from that of the Chicago appeals court. That makes the issue ripe for a final resolution by the nation's highest court.
These questions and others have sewed considerable confusion in the public mind on this issue, and it's important for the public to realize what's at stake.
In recent years, the U.S. Supreme Court — by 5-4 votes — has struck down ordinances in Washington, D.C., and Chicago that barred citizens from possessing firearms. The high court ruled that the bans violated citizens' Second Amendment rights to possess firearms in their homes.
The Seventh Circuit expanded on those precedents by ruling in December that Illinois' ban on concealed carry violated citizens' right to possess firearms outside their homes. The Seventh Circuit said that states are free to draft reasonable regulations and gave the General Assembly six months, until June 9, to draft a bill.
If the Legislature does not act, citizens will be free to carry firearms without restriction, so it's important legislators establish ground rules as to who can carry, what requirements they must meet to carry and where they may carry.
So far, anti-concealed carry legislators have tried without success to pass a concealed carry that is so restrictive it allows concealed carry in name only. At the same time, pro-concealed carry legislators have failed to pass a law setting much broader broad rules.
Attorney General Madigan is opposed to concealed carry, as are virtually all Chicago-area politicians. Our suspicion is that she's hoping the Legislature passes a highly restrictive concealed carry law so she can skip asking for high court review on the Seventh Circuit decision and satisfy herself by defending any challenges to the law passed by the General Assembly.
Unfortunately, the debate and deliberations over concealed carry demonstrate political posturing by concealed carry opponents. They are the outliers in this debate.
Forty-nine states have concealed carry in some form, and there have been no huge problems as a result. Crime is reported to have gone down in some jurisdictions because bad guys don't know who's armed and who isn't.
Surely, Illinois can learn from the examples of 49 other states and act accordingly.