The state of Illinois would have to allow ordinary citizens to carry weapons under a federal appeals court ruling issued today, but the judges also gave lawmakers 180 days to put their own version of the law in place.
In a 2-1 decision that is a major victory for the National Rifle Association, the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals said the state's ban on carrying a weapon in public is unconstitutional.
"We are disinclined to engage in another round of historical analysis to determine whether eighteenth-century America understood the Second Amendment to include a right to bear guns outside the home. 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 judges ruled.
"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.
“What we are most pleased about is how the court has recognized that the Second Amendment is just as, if not at times more, important in public as it is in the home,” he said. “The right of self-defense doesn’t end at your front door.”