When the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in December that Illinois’ outright ban of defensive firearm carry (whether concealed or openly) violates the Second Amendment, giving the state until June 9 to come up with some kind of carry law, St. Louis Gun Rights Examiner predicted the fight was far from over. That was probably an understatement.
Since then, Illinois State Attorney General Lisa Madigan appealed the 7th Circuit Court’s decision, requesting a second, en banc, hearing before the entire court. Her request was denied, and Chicago-area Democrats have been scrambling to force through an ultra-restrictive bill that would (Madigan and the rest of the anti-self-defense fanatics hope) meet the letter of the 7th Circuit’s requirement for a carry law, but would in effect be the next “best” thing to the current outright ban. So far, those attempts have been defeated, but they keep coming.
Meanwhile, despite the court’s unambiguous ruling that Illinois’ ban of defensive firearm carry is unconstitutional, people arrested for defying that ban are not being acquitted, and the unconstitutional law is still being enforced.
In mid-March, rabidly anti-gun Illinois Governor Pat Quinn urged Madigan to appeal the ruling to the Supreme Court. Madigan appeared at the time reluctant to take that step, clearly hoping that the Illinois legislature would succeed in passing a carry bill so restrictive as to be, in effect, a continuation of the current ban. This, she apparently believed, was safer than a Supreme Court appeal, which the Court may have refused to hear (or the appeal could be heard, and still lose).
In mid-April, the Supreme Court declined to hear a challenge to New York’s extremely restrictive “may issue” concealed carry law (which amounts to “shall not issue,” except to the wealthy, the famous, and the connected). Madigan then claimed that this was the Court’s way of tacitly approving restrictive “may issue” laws, and that Illinois legislators should now rest assured that such laws are Constitutional, so, in effect, “Get busy passing such a law.”
At about the same time, the Illinois House voted on a bill, drafted by pro-gun Representative Brandon Phelps (D), that although “shall issue,” was otherwise extremely generous to the anti-gun crowd, in terms of the restrictions, extortionary fees, extensive training requirements, etc., it would require, as a concession to the gun-haters. Some would say those concessions were far too generous (an assertion that will find no disagreement here). Still, the state’s pro-gun House members voted for it, and it still failed.
In other words, with less than three months before Illinois’ carry ban is to simply disappear, with no alternative regulatory framework in place, the anti-gunners could not bring themselves to vote for what would almost certainly have been the most restrictive “shall issue” carry law in the nation. It’s as if the anti-gunners are deliberately surrendering their power to regulate defensive firearm carry at all.
On Monday, Madigan pulled one more arrow from her quiver. With the May 23 deadline for her decision on whether or not to file a Supreme Court appeal fast approaching, and with no sign that a legislative solution is in the offing within that time frame, she is asking the Court to extend the deadline until June 24. From the Chicago Sun-Times:
Madigan would have until June 24 to file a petition for appeal with the high court if it grants her office the 30-day extension. The request comes after the 7th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals last December mandated Illinois lawmakers to put a concealed-carry law on the books by June 9 and denied a petition for a rehearing of its decision in February.
This seems a rather desperate move. For one thing, even if the Supreme Court grants her extension, the June 9 deadline for passing a law–or letting concealed carry go unregulated–is still in place. From the Springfield Journal-Register:
[Madigan spokeswoman Natalie] Bauer said even if there is an appeal, the Legislature must still meet the June 9 deadline, which is the date on which the federal court determined that, the unconstitutional concealed carry ban would expire. Without other action, widely permissive gun-toting rules would apply.
What an extension would buy Madigan is more time to see if the legislature can pass a law that she and the other gun-prohibitionists can live with. If not, she would presumably file the Supreme Court appeal, hoping that her claim that the Court’s refusal to hear the New York case means that the Court has no intention to mandate “shall issue” is true, and that it does not mean instead that they are simply not interested in hearing a concealed carry case.
Should the Court grant her extension? If, as she still maintains, Illinois’ outright carry ban is Constitutional, why has she been so reluctant to appeal already? She has had, after all, months to do so. She is waiting on the legislature, but that body, too, has had months to come up with a law to meet the Seventh Circuit’s requirements.
“A right delayed is a right denied,” said Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and Illinoisans’ Constitutionally guaranteed, fundamental human right of the individual to keep and bear arms has already been delayed far too long. People are still being jailed for violating a “law” that the federal courts have found to be unconstitutional.
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