A federal court on Friday delivered a major victory to gun rights supporters, denying a petition to rehear a December ruling that declared an Illinois law prohibiting people from carrying concealed handguns in public unconstitutional.
“There is no suggestion that some unique characteristic of criminal activity in Illinois justifies the state’s taking a different approach from the other 49 states,” Judge Richard A. Posner wrote in the opinion upheld Friday. “If the Illinois approach were demonstrably superior, one would expect at least one or two other states to have emulated it.”
Chris W. Cox, the National Rifle Association’s chief lobbyist, said the decision is a major victory for the Second Amendment.
“It is now clear that no state can deny law-abiding residents the right to carry a firearm for self-defense outside the home,” he said.
“We have been fighting this case for years and are prepared to keep fighting until the courts fully protect the entire Second Amendment,” he said. The NRA is funding the case.
Three judges on the 10-judge U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit joined Judge David F. Hamilton in dissenting. Judge Michael S. Kanne did not participate in the consideration of the state’s petition to re-hear the case before the full court.
A three-judge panel ruled in December that the Illinois legislature had 180 days to come up with some type of concealed-carry law, overruling gun control proponents.
Recent Supreme Court rulings on gun rights have left open the question of whether the “individual right to keep and bear arms at home under the Second Amendment extends beyond the home,” Judge Hamilton wrote in the dissent. “The panel’s split decision in these cases goes farther than the Supreme Court has gone and is the first decision by a federal court of appeals striking down legislation restricting the carrying of arms in public.”