CHEYENNE, WY – What’s happening in Obamaland? I’m talking about Illinois, the state that Barack Hussein Obama refers to as his “home state,” and in which he served briefly in the Legislature before running for and winning a seat in the U.S. Senate. Is Conservatism finally taking root there, at least on the issue of Gun Rights?
In a huge win for gun-rights groups and law-abiding citizens of the state of Illinois who seek further protection outside their homes from armed criminals, a divided 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, the federal appeals court located in Chicago, but which exercises federal jurisdiction over the states of Wisconsin, Indiana, and Illinois, on Tuesday, December 11, 2012, tossed out the state’s ban on carrying concealed weapons in public and ordered the Illinois Legislature to craft a law legalizing concealed carry. The Court ordered that the legislature be finished its work in no more than 180 days.
This decision was argued on June 8, 2012 before three of the seven federal judges who hold positions on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals – Richard Posner, Joel M. Flaum, and Ann Claire Williams. All are from Illinois. Two of the three, Posner and Flaum, were appointed by former President, Ronald Reagan, thus demonstrating once again how a Conservative Republican president who does his job of appointing federal judges conscientiously and well, can affect the nation for years after his time in office is ended. The third judge, Williams, was appointed by the disgraced former president, William Jefferson Blye Clinton, who was impeached by the U.S. House of Representatives, and narrowly escaped removal from office only because of a partisan U.S. Senate made up of Democrats who apparently considered lying, both to the public and in a court of law under oath, and engaging in sex acts in the White House with an intern, acceptable practices for a president of the United States.
But, back to the issue at hand. “The debate is over. We won. And there will be a statewide carry law in [in Illinois] in 2013,” said Todd Vandenmyde, a lobbyist for the National Rifle Association (NRA).
In a split decision – the Democrat Clinton appointee, Williams, dissenting of course – which calls into question the ability or duty of judges anywhere to decide questions of law free of political or partisan politics and their own personal worldviews), the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a lower court ruling in two cases downstate, which had upheld the state’s longstanding prohibition against carrying concealed weapons. Illinois had been the last state with an outright prohibition against concealed carry. It seemed to stem from a long-time irrational fear of or aversion to guns by many, who simply had never been around them much. The 7th Circuit case is Moore & Shepard et al v. Madigan, et al.
“In this case,” the 7th Circuit Court’s majority stated, “the appellants contend that the Illinois law violates the Second Amendment as interpreted in [the Supreme Court’s] District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570 (2008), and held applicable to the states in McDonald v. City of Chicago, 130 S. Ct. 3020 (2010). Heller held that the Second Amendment protects “the right of law-abiding, responsible citizens to use arms in defense of hearth and home.” 554 U.S. at 565. But the Supreme Court has not yet addressed the question whether the Second Amendment creates a right of self-defense outside the home. The [two] district courts [in Illinois] ruled that it does not, and so dismissed the two suits for failure to state a claim.” These cases had upheld the state’s long standing prohibition against carrying concealed weapons.
Prior to this decision, carrying a concealed handgun in public was permitted for non-law enforcement officials, i.e., the general public, in 49 of the 50 states. Illinois had been the last state with an outright prohibition against concealed carry. Only Illinois and Washington, D.C. did not allow concealed carry except by active and retired law enforcement officers. Now, Illinois can no longer be numbered as totally prohibiting this practice.
Proponents of concealed carry argued that criminals are less likely to attack someone they believe to be or cannot tell to be armed. They cited the Second Amendment’s “right of the people to keep and bear arms,” and argued that most adults who legally carry a concealed gun are law-abiding and do not misuse their firearms.
Apparently their argument carried weight with a large majority nationwide. As of 2010, 39 states had “shall issue” laws, in which the police do not have discretion in issuing concealed weapons permits as long as individuals meet certain minimum requirements, such as a minimum age, no prior felony convictions, and no recent commitments to a mental institution. Ten states have “may issue” laws, in which the police have discretion of some sort in determining whether or not to issue a permit.
Since the U.S. Supreme Court only grants Certiorari and agrees to hear approximately 100 cases a year, the federal Circuit Courts can be and often are considered the final arbiters of questions like these. So, when the Illinois legislature finishes its work in six months or less, the people of that state will, indeed, have the right to carry a concealed weapon outside their homes if they desire to do so, in keeping with the Second Amendment’s right “to keep and bear arms.”
Anthony Joseph Sacco, Sr., a writer, licensed private investigator, author of three published novels, The China Connection, Little Sister Lost, and Return to Darkness, and a biography, Echoes in the Wind, holds degrees from Loyola University Maryland and the University of Maryland Law School. His articles have appeared in the Washington Times, Baltimore Sun, Voices for the Unborn, the Catholic Review, WREN Magazine, TRIOND, and the Wyoming Catholic Register. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org, and visit his website at http://www.saccoservices.com.
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