The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Illinois (a Court immediately below the U.S. Supreme Court) recently struck down Illinois’ ban on carrying a concealed weapon. Specifically, the relevant statute forbid — with exceptions mainly for police officers, security personnel, and members of target shooting clubs — the carrying of a gun that is ready to use. Additional exceptions existed for possessing/owning a weapon in one’s home.
The central question before the Court was whether the 2nd Amendment applied only to keeping and bearing arms in the home, or whether it was a right that extended outside of the home. The principal authorities relied on by the Court were the U.S. Supreme Court opinions in Heller and McDonald. The former found that the 2nd amendment was largely an individual right; the latter found that the 2nd amendment was applicable to the States, not just the federal government. What made the issue difficult was that the Heller decision dealt with a statute/ordinance involving gun use in the home; thus, it was not directly applicable to the Illinois law.
Nonetheless, after much historical and policy analysis, the Court concluded that the Illinois statute was unconstitutional. A key section of the Court’s opinion is as follows:
Both Heller and McDonald do say that “the need for defense of self, family, and property is most acute” in the home, id. at 3036 (emphasis added); 554 U.S. at 628, but that doesn’t mean it is not acute outside the home. Heller repeatedly invokes a broader Second Amendment right than the right to have a gun in one’s home, as when it says that the amendment “guarantee[s] the individual right to possess and carry weapons in case of confrontation.” 554 U.S. at 592. Confrontations are not limited to the home.
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