Federal Court Blocks Illinois Law Banning Carrying Guns in Public

Friday, December 14, 2012
Black Panters demonstrating their right to bear arms in public in 1969 (photo: Washington State Archives)

The only state law in the U.S. banning the possession of guns in public has been overturned by a three-judge panel of a federal appeals court.


The Seventh Circuit panel voted 2-1 to throw out an Illinois statute that prohibits citizens from carrying firearms outside the home.


“The right to ‘bear’ as distinct from the right to ‘keep’ arms is unlikely to refer to the home,” according to the majority opinion authored by Judge Richard Posner and joined by Judge Joel Flaum. “To speak of ‘bearing’ arms within one’s home would at all times have been an awkward usage. A right to bear arms thus implies a right to carry a loaded gun outside the home.”


The judges added: “We are disinclined to engage in another round of historical analysis to determine whether eighteenth-century America understood the Second Amendment to include a right to bear guns outside the home. The Supreme Court has decided that the amendment confers a right to bear arms for self-defense, which is as important outside the home as inside.”


In a dissent that was longer than the majority opinion, Judge Ann Claire Williams argued that it was the right of the state of Illinois to make its own laws regarding controlling guns to combat crime.


State lawmakers were given 180 days by the court to craft a new law that “will impose reasonable limitations, consistent with the public safety and the Second Amendment as interpreted in this opinion, on the carrying of guns in public,” the justices wrote.

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

7th Circuit Strikes Down Illinois Gun Law (by Joseph Celentino, Courthouse News Service)

Concealed Carry: Court Strikes Down Illinois' Ban (by Ray Long, Annie Sweeney and Monique Garcia, Chicago Tribune)

Michael Moore v. Lisa Madigan (Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals) (pdf)

“Go Ahead…Make Their Day!” A New State Law Gives Oklahomans the Right to Openly Carry Guns (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)


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