Bench Memos

Seventh Circuit Denies En Banc of Decision Striking Down Ill.’s Conceal-Carry Ban

As I reported here, in December a three-judge panel of the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Illinois’ complete ban on carrying firearms disturbed the Second Amendment, although it stayed its own ruling for 180 days to enable the state to craft a legislative remedy. The Illinois attorney general’s petition for an en banc hearing was denied today, which only gives the state until June to craft some sort of conceal-carry law if they intend to comply with the court’s December ruling. Illinois could appeal to the Supreme Court, but anything short of a stay means the June deadline is still in force.  

The State of Illinois has a number of legislative options, and it remains to be seen if they acknowledge the success of most other states and pass a “shall issue” conceal-carry law. Most states have such a “shall issue” law, where anyone who submits a completed application and passes a background check will be allowed to carry a concealed weapon (e.g., fingerprints, affidavits, certification of gun-safety course, and so on). Coincidentally, the Illinois legislature is holding hearings on this very issue today. 

However, Illinois could also take the path of Maryland, where their “may issue” law is a de facto ban on carrying concealed handguns. This would force citizens to once again return to the courtroom to force Illinois to respect the Second Amendment. It is important to note that Maryland’s permit scheme is so restrictive that it once denied a permit to a man who the state had earlier honored as their “Citizen of the Year.” The Federal District Court for the District of Maryland recently struck down Maryland’s conceal-carry process, and that is now on appeal in the Fourth Circuit. For Illinois to follow Maryland would be disappointing but not surprising, considering that Illinois is the only state that has such a blanket ban on carrying a concealed firearm.

I will keep readers posted on this and other Second Amendment legal developments. In the meantime, you can read today’s order here


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