Local lawmakers react to court ruling on concealed carry ban - WGEM.com: Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio

Local lawmakers react to court ruling on concealed carry ban

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(WGEM) -- 

"I don't think that should be allowed, I mean it's just not proper, and it causes a lot of trouble," said June Mast.

But even more vocal are those who are for concealed carry.

"I think it should be allowed if someone knew you had a gun they'd be less likely to mug you," said Don Hardy.

"Every other state has it so why shouldn't we?" said Eric Belshaw.

Today's ruling is a victory for gun rights advocates, who argue the ban on concealed weapons violates the Second Amendment and what they see as Americans' right to carry guns for self-defense.

"There's absolutely nothing wrong with concealed carry, you have to have a license, there's nothing wrong with being able to protect yourself," said Dana Simmons.

Over the past few months, voters in several local counties have passed a constitutional carry of arms resolution, a non-binding measure urging lawmakers to pass a concealed carry law.

Adams County Sheriff Brent Fischer says if lawmakers enforce strict application guidelines, passing the concealed carry law could be a good thing.

"If the law is written appropriately with the background with the training, and I think with different notifications, and other important parts for law enforcement side we would certainly support that," said Sheriff Fischer.

Local lawmakers are reacting to Tuesday's ruling by a federal appeals court striking down the Illinois ban on carrying concealed weapons. The court says Illinois lawmakers have six months to write a new law.

State Representative Jil Tracy (R-Quincy) says it's great news for the people of Illinois.

"It confirms what I believe that our law was unconstitutional," said Rep. Tracy.

She says over the past year, not a day went by when she didn't get asked about the possibility of concealed carry.

Moving forward, Rep. Tracy says Illinois needs to look at the process established by several other states of educating gun users.

"Training is a very important part of this. Ensuring the safety of all residents should be a priority in this new law," said Rep. Tracy.

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State Representative Norine Hammond (R-Macomb) said that she agrees with the Seventh Circuit Appellate Court that Illinois gun laws are too restrictive and that the residents of Illinois have a basic constitutional right to be able to defend themselves at home, as well as in public.

"I think this reiterates what many of us have been saying for years; that Illinois gun laws go too far in restricting citizens 2nd Amendment rights," said Rep. Hammond.  "This is a good first step toward putting a right to carry law in place here in Illinois, but I also want to caution that this decision does not, in itself, put in place a concealed carry measure for our state."

The Court's decision states:

"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.

"Illinois had to provide us with more than merely a rational basis for believing that its uniquely sweeping ban is justified by an increase in public safety. It has failed to meet this burden."

"The court echoed what 2nd Amendment supporters have been saying all along; that our right to use firearms for self-defense does not stop when we exit our home.  This is a basic constitutional right that should be afforded to all law abiding citizens who choose to exercise it in a responsible manner," said Hammond.  "With the legislature returning in early January for lame duck session, we should clarify our statutes by passing a responsible conceal carry law that reinforces today's decision."

The Seventh Circuit Appellate Court decreed that their decision will be stayed for 180 days in order to give the state legislature time to impose "reasonable limitations, consistent with public safety and the 2nd Amendment as interpreted in this opinion, on the carrying of guns in public." 

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State Senator John Sullivan (D-Rushville) applauded today's ruling by the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, which struck down Illinois' restrictive law on bearing arms outside the home. The federal court gave the General Assembly and the governor 180 days to enact concealed carry legislation.

"I am extremely pleased with today's decision and could not agree more that the time has come for Illinois to join the 49 other states where it's legal to carry a gun for self-defense in a public place," Sen. Sullivan said. "I look forward to working with my colleagues to draft a law that finally respects Illinoisans' Second Amendment rights and makes our state a safer place for law-abiding citizens."
 
Illinois law currently prohibits carrying a loaded weapon outside one's own home, with exceptions for hunters, law enforcement officers and a few other types of individuals. Following the United States Supreme Court's lead, the appeals court in a 2-1 decision declared that the right to bear arms includes a right to self-defense and that people need to defend themselves and their families in a variety of settings, not just in their homes. The court suggested some restrictions would still be permissible but unequivocally stated that Illinois may no longer remain the last hold-out in the nationwide movement to allow concealed carry.
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