The Last Outright Ban on Concealed Weapons Goes Down

by Katie Mesner-Hage, Slate.com  |  published on December 16, 2012

Illinois gun ban

Illinois’ efforts to distinguish itself on gun control legislation have once again been thwarted. On Tuesday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit struck down, by a vote of 2 to 1, the state’s ban on carrying concealed firearms.

The ruling by Judge Richard Posner forces Illinois—the only state in the nation that had such a sweeping ban—to fall in line with the national trend permitting citizens to carry concealed weapons in at least some circumstances.

A little background: In District of Columbia v. Heller, the Supreme Court ruled in 2008 that the Second Amendment protects “the right of law-abiding, responsible citizens to use arms in defense of hearth and home.”

The question before Judge Posner and two other appellate judges—which the Supreme Court has not yet addressed—was whether the Second Amendment also protects a right of self-defense outside the home.

Judge Posner said yes, stressing the part of Heller that says the Second Amendment guarantees people the right to possess and carry weapons “in case of confrontation.” After all, confrontations are not limited to the home.

Posner turned to the text of the Second Amendment to buttress this argument, positing that the right to “bear” arms (as opposed to “keep” them) takes on a strange meaning if the amendment’s application is limited to the home.

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