Madigan seeks new hearing on concealed carry

January 8, 2013 3:31:17 PM PST
There is action Tuesday night to protect the ban on concealed carry in Illinois.

Attorney General Lisa Madigan is taking that step by asking an appeals court to re-hear the case after they ordered the general assembly to come up with a new law.

The decision last month on the state's concealed carry ban came from a three judge panel.

The Attorney General wants all the Federal appeals court judges in Chicago, there are 11 who are active, to hear the case in what's called an "en banc" appeal, which is very rarely granted.

"It is appropriate for them to address this matter and look at it again because the panel decision that came out in December is very far ahead of the Supreme Court," Madigan said.

That 2-1 decision last month declared the Illinois ban on concealed carry unconstitutional and gave Illinois legislators 180 days to pass a law that would permit it.

The Attorney General argues that while the United States Supreme Court has dealt directly with guns in the home that the second amendment confers that right of possession, it has not directly ruled on carrying a ready-to-use gun in public. So she wants all the 7th circuit judges to weigh in on the case.

"We think the right thing is to ask the entire 7th circuit to listen to these arguments and they will rule as to what we believe that states have a right to put in place these laws that prevent gun crimes, and that's why we're doing this," Madigan said.

While that so-called "en banc" appeal is underway, the clock is still ticking on the order for state lawmakers to come up with a law that would permit concealed carry, and while there is a bill, there's a wide separation over how it should take shape.

Background checks and training, both classroom and range, are basic ingredients, but gun control advocates argue that Illinois should go further, much as New York state already has in which those who wish to carry a concealed firearm must convince a hearing officer that they have "proper cause" to do so.

"You have to say to them, 'What your cause is? Why do you need this weapon?'" said Colleen Daley, Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence. "It's up to at that point the higher authority to determine if your reason is legitimate or not."

That "proper cause" aspect of the New York law was recently upheld by the federal appeals court in New York which is another reason Attorney General Madigan says she's wants to appeal last month's decision here.

Richard Pearson of the Illinois State Rifle Association says the appeal is certainly no surprise, and "if it comes out our way, good. If not, it's on to the Supreme Court."