Gun-rights advocates claimed a major victory on Tuesday when a federal appeals court in Illinois struck down the state's ban on carrying concealed firearms, in a ruling that may have national repercussions if appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Before the 2-1 ruling, Illinois stood as the last state in the country maintaining an absolute prohibition on the carrying of concealed firearms by private citizens. The majority opinion, by Richard A. Posner of the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, found the ban on concealed weapons was unconstitutional under a 2008 Supreme Court decision overturning a sweeping handgun ban by the District of Columbia.
The Supreme Court's decision in 2008 firmly established a constitutional right to armed self-defense under the Second Amendment, Posner wrote.
"A right to bear arms thus implies a right to carry a loaded gun outside the home," he wrote.
Illinois House Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Currie, who supports stricter gun control measures, said she hoped the ruling would be stayed until the Supreme Court had a chance to rule on an appeal. But if the state is forced to implement a concealed carry law, it should be severely restrictive, she said.
Democratic Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn commented Monday that he'd like to see the state legislature pass a marriage equality bill and get it to his desk in January.
Quinn urged state lawmakers to study the matter carefully before they return to Springfield for the lame duck session beginning Jan. 2.
The governor's comments arrived following the release of a Public Policy Polling poll that found that 47 percent of Illinois voters support same-sex marriage and support increased among both younger voters and voters of color, including Latino voters, who were 70 percent in support, the Windy City Times reports.
The Chicago area broke an 18-year-old record on Tuesday as it entered its 282nd day without measurable snow. If the lack of snow continues, Chicago could soon break an even oldest record: The latest date that the city has ever seen its first measurable snowfall of the season is Dec. 16, 1965.
House member Lou Lang (D-Skokie) has been pushing two controversial bills in recent years: the expansion of Illinois gaming and the legalization of medical marijuana. Whenever asked about the possibility of Illinois becoming the nineteenth state to legalize the green leafy substance, Lang is always optimistic. Two years ago, he told Skokie Patch he only needed to secure "two or three" votes to pass the bill. Obviously, that never came to fruition.
However, other states have recently passed similar bills and Lang is hoping Illinois can become the next state to ride the green wave and help those who can seriously benefit from the drug.
"Nobody should fear the bill," Lang told Skokie Patch. "This is about quality of life for people."