Lisa Madigan. File I John H. White~Sun-Times
Updated: January 13, 2013 6:21AM
Illinois’ status as the only state that does not allow the carrying of concealed loaded guns was threatened Tuesday when a federal appeals court gave the state 180 days to change its law.
But that doesn’t mean Illinois should immediately allow anyone who feels like it to start toting a pistol.
Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, who said Tuesday that she is reviewing her options, should appeal the overbroad ruling by the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals. And if the courts won’t extend the deadline while considering the appeal, the Legislature will have to craft a law that meets the court’s standards while providing as many protections as possible for citizens who don’t carry guns.
The Legislature might even be able to find a way to continue banning concealed carry while rewriting the law to satisfy the appeals court, which said the current law doesn’t rest on sufficient justification. Short of that, the Legislature could consider a narrowly crafted law, such as that in New York, which has concealed carry in theory but does not grant many permits.
Supporters of concealed carry have brought the issue to Springfield many times but have not had enough votes to prevail.
While not denying the appeal of concealed carry to people who feel threatened, we have long opposed such laws, arguing that we should be working toward a more civilized society, not an armed camp.
In a dissent Tuesday Judge Ann C. Williams wrote, “[the] Illinois Legislature . . . sought to ‘prevent situations where no criminal intent existed, but criminal conduct resulted despite the lack of intent, e.g., accidents with loaded guns on public streets or the escalation of minor public altercations into gun battles.’ . . . The danger of such situations increases if guns may be carried outside the home.”
The Legislature has every reason to limit that danger as much as possible, and it should continue to do so.