Illinois was the only state where it was illegal for Average (Licensed) Joes to carry a covered-up weapon in public — until Tuesday, when a federal appeals court struck down the last of America's concealed weapons bans. In about six months, Illinois residents can take their guns wherever their hearts desire.
The Chicago Sun-Times's Dave McKinney reports that it was split-decision victory for gun activists in the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals review of two cases that challenged the state's ban on concealed weapons. Judge Richard Posner's majority opinion says there's no reason for Illinois to ban concealed weapons when every other state allows it, though he doesn't think the argument is settled. His opinion seems to imply the debate may have legs in a higher courtroom, if someone were to take it there:
"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. The theoretical and empirical evidence (which overall is inconclusive) is consistent with concluding that a right to carry firearms in public may promote self-defense," he continued.
The defense couldn't argue a "more than merely a rational basis" for the ban, and so they lost, Posner writes, which sounds really depressing.
The Illinois legislature will have 180 days to write a new law that allows people to carry concealed weapons. It should be noted the minority opinion in the case says the state is within its rights to ban them in "sensitive" places like government offices and hospitals. So at least that bit of rationality got through.