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Take a breath

Monday, Feb 25, 2013

* I told subscribers about this on Friday

, House Speaker Mike Madigan, the Attorney General’s father, announced that next Tuesday, the Illinois House will meet to discuss “gun safety and unlawful use of weapons”. A concealed carry proposal is among the items to be discussed.

* The response by the Illinois State Rifle Association…


Mike Madigan is ticked off…

Why is Mike Madigan so ticked off? Quite simply, he’s ticked off because the 7th District Court of Appeals has told him plainly that the legislature must bow to constitutional authority – not to the whims of Mike Madigan. And we all know what a control freak Mike Madigan is.

No, Mike Madigan is no longer in control of the concealed carry debate. The courts have said once and for all that Illinois will join 49 other states in allowing citizens to carry defensive firearms.

The court has really ticked Madigan off…

Mike Madigan is so ticked off that he plans to introduce his own version of a concealed carry bill early next week. Of course, under Madigan’s carry bill, the only people who would be allowed to carry would be… um… nobody.

Although the details of Madigan’s concealed carry bill (HB1155) have not yet been released, those close to Madigan are saying that it will be the most restrictive concealed carry bill in the nation.

One insider termed Madigan’s proposal, “…the closest thing to no-carry at all.”

That’s not what’s gonna happen, as subscribers already know. And this hardline stance portrayed to its own members is not what ISRA is saying elsewhere. For instance

Richard Pearson, the executive director of the Illinois State Rifle Association which advocates for gun ownership, said Illinois might be able to keep some restrictions on concealed carry.

“But they have to be reasonable,” Pearson said. “They can’t make it so restrictive that average people can’t do it.”

* Meanwhile, here’s my weekly syndicated newspaper column

Illinois House Democrats were told during a private caucus meeting in Springfield last week that, despite what Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez says, inaction on concealed carry would have serious consequences.

As you most assuredly know, a three-judge panel of the federal appeals court in Chicago gave the General Assembly until June 8 to pass a law allowing some form of carrying a loaded gun in public. The full appeals court upheld that ruling by a 5-4 vote on Friday in an appeal by state Attorney General Lisa Madigan.

After the June 8 deadline, Illinois’ law against carrying a loaded gun will no longer apply. Illinois is the only state in the nation that totally bars concealed or open carry by citizens.

However, an aide to Alvarez told the House Judiciary Committee last week that the federal appeals court’s position means nothing to the state.

Paul Castiglione, a representative of Alvarez, dropped a bomb during a hearing by the committee that was called to discuss concealed carry when he declared that until the U.S. or Illinois Supreme courts rule, the appellate court decision is “not binding” on the state.

“Only the Illinois Supreme Court can declare a statute from this body to be unconstitutional,” Castiglione told the committee members.

He also took aim at warnings by the National Rifle Association that if no new concealed-carry law is put into place before the deadline, then gun owners would be free to carry assault rifles down Michigan Avenue.

Castiglione insisted that his office would continue to enforce the current law.

“Anyone who decides, for example, to walk down Michigan Avenue in Chicago carrying an AK-15 (sic) would be subject to arrest and prosecution,” he said.

But that’s not how the House Democrats’ legal staff sees the world.

At one point during that closed-door Democratic caucus meeting, Rep. Ken Dunkin (D-Chicago) rose to ask whether the staff was saying that if the Legislature does not pass a concealed-carry law, he could legally carry a loaded semi-automatic rifle into the Statehouse after June 8.

“Yes,” he was told.

A stunned silence fell over the caucus meeting, said several House Democrats who attended.

“I think they finally get it now,” one pro-gun House Democrat said of his colleagues.

Some historically anti-gun members talked after the committee meeting about how they need to vote for a concealed-carry bill. So, Dunkin’s question and the answer given appear to have worked.

At least for now, a lot of House members are not willing to kick this particular can down the road.

Meanwhile, Secretary of State Jesse White’s office says no way will it allow people to walk into the statehouse with a gun, regardless of what legislators do this spring. They believe state law backs them up, and White controls access to the Capitol, so he should know.

White long has been a gun control proponent. In fact, according to a recent poll by the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute, he’s in the mainstream of Illinois thought on this controversial topic.

The survey found that 72 percent of Illinoisans believe that “laws covering the sale of firearms should be made more strict,” while just 2.2 percent said they should be less strict, 21 percent said they should remain the same and 4 percent didn’t know.

The poll also found that 66 percent of downstate voters, 55 percent of conservatives and 55 percent of Republicans favor stricter gun control in Illinois, according to the institute’s poll.

One issue pushed by liberals is banning high-capacity ammunition magazines of more than 10 rounds. The poll found that 63 percent agree that’s desirable while 33 percent oppose the idea.

Its results show that 52 percent of downstaters support the ammo limit (42 percent oppose) as well as 46 percent of conservatives (46 percent against) and 44 percent of Republicans (50 percent oppose). Also, 68 percent of women and 58 percent of men favor such a restriction, according to the poll.

And 49.7 percent of those polled said they believed the Second Amendment does not include the right to carry a concealed weapon in public, while 39.5 percent said it does and 11 percent didn’t know.

Among those downstate, 50 percent said the Second Amendment specifies such a right, while 36 percent said it doesn’t. By party, 68 percent of Democrats say there’s no such constitutional right, while 62 percent of Republicans believe there is, a very significant partisan divide.

Under the federal appeals court rulings, a concealed-carry law has to be passed by lawmakers, but as that poll clearly shows, it ain’t gonna be easy.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - shore - Monday, Feb 25, 13 @ 9:51 am:

    It’s not something I’m passionate about, but out of curiosity is the gun issue the one that draws the most vitriol on the blog from commenters?

  2. - hisgirlfriday - Monday, Feb 25, 13 @ 9:55 am:

    The 10th circuit just came down with a ruling of no const right to concealed carry. I would think that would motivate the antigun folks to keep fighting this all the way to the supremes.

  3. - Leave a Light on George - Monday, Feb 25, 13 @ 10:03 am:

    We ain’t in the 10th circuit and open carry is just fine with me.

  4. - hisgirlfriday - Monday, Feb 25, 13 @ 10:13 am:

    We aren’t in the 10th but this seems like we now have a circuit split which makes this ripe for scotus to get involved.

  5. - Fred's Mustache - Monday, Feb 25, 13 @ 10:13 am:

    === We ain’t in the 10th circuit ===

    True, but you better believe that the 10th Circuit ruling makes it much more likely that the Supremes take this case to resolve the split among the Circuits.

  6. - Jasper - Monday, Feb 25, 13 @ 10:21 am:

    On a semi-related note, one of the pro-gun lobbyists was comparing Gerry McCarthy to Bull O’Connor this weekend.

    The pro-gun people don’t seem to realize that now that they’ve won in the courts, it is time to calm down and get moderates to their side.

    Instead, they are continuing down the same old path. It is disappointing.

  7. - Leave a Light on George - Monday, Feb 25, 13 @ 10:22 am:

    I would appreciate a link to the 10th circuit decision but let’s take hisgirlfriday at their word.

    “The 10th circuit just came down with a ruling of no const right to concealed carry.”

    Illinois has NO CARRY so I don’t see how this changes the June deadline issued by the 7th circuit. The Supremes have said that carrying a gun outside the home for defense is constitutional. Concealed carry is a related but separate issue.

  8. - wordslinger - Monday, Feb 25, 13 @ 10:23 am:

    I would hope that if conceal-carry is allowed on the rolling sardine cans of rush hour trains and buses — where the only authority is the driver — that it would also be allowed under the wide, protected corridors of The Dome.

  9. - Nieva - Monday, Feb 25, 13 @ 10:24 am:

    If you ask people in my small county I would guess conceal carry would be favored by 90 percent or more. Most of the people here will never visit Chicago and really don’t care what kind of gun laws they have there. It really is upsetting to them that they are controlled by a place that can’t get their own house in order. I guess that would be the same for Washington too.

  10. - wordslinger - Monday, Feb 25, 13 @ 10:32 am:

    –Most of the people here will never visit Chicago and really don’t care what kind of gun laws they have there.–

    Tell that to the NRA and ISRA. They’re the ones opposed to a regional/home rule compromise.

  11. - Arthur Andersen - Monday, Feb 25, 13 @ 10:35 am:

    I may be a little slow here on Monday morning, but how does the hypothetical open carry of an assault rifle into the Capitol have anything to do with the concealed carry issue?

  12. - Colossus - Monday, Feb 25, 13 @ 10:39 am:

    Nieva - That’s how a whole lot of small counties are, and that’s a perfectly valid stance to start from. It seem that many downstate counties that have a different experience from Chicago aren’t terribly interested in getting to know the reasons why Chicago is interested in a different approach to guns. Here, let’s try an experiment:

    “Most of the people here will never visit downstate and really don’t care what kind of gun laws they have there.”

    The Chicago experience with guns is radically different than the downstate experience with guns. They are both valid points to begin the conversation from, but saying that Chicago’s experience shouldn’t count is a very poor place to start your thinking. They both must be at the table, not just the side that happens to be easy for you to relate to.

  13. - 47th Ward - Monday, Feb 25, 13 @ 10:43 am:


    If no CC bill is passed by the Court’s deadline, there will be no restrictions on gun possession other than a current FOID. The court ruled that the ban was illegal, and it’s ruling gave Illinois 180 days to replace the ban with a CC law.

    There will be a law. No way we’re going to risk a situation where there is no law governing the carrying of ready to use weapons.

  14. - langhorne - Monday, Feb 25, 13 @ 10:47 am:

    havent we seen this play from he-madigan before? a contentious issue is roiling along, and he stakes out a somewhat exaggerated position, and we then nibble our way back towards the center. show folks how bad it can be done, and anything less seems like progress.

    i think the anti gun folks are willing to go along w concealed carry, as long as you have successfully completed the police academy and carry where not more than one other person is assembling. throw in certification of sanity by a panel of experts and review by your local sheriff before sending the app to the state, and you have a pretty good bill.

  15. - hisgirlfriday - Monday, Feb 25, 13 @ 10:51 am:

    Leave a light on george: sorry I am typing from a phone so linking is hard. Try

  16. - benji - Monday, Feb 25, 13 @ 10:52 am:

    >Tell that to the NRA and ISRA.

    Most does not mean all. You tell the NRA and ISRA, and Judge Posner too that we will only be infringing some of the people’s rights, like the majority of the State’s population.

  17. - Cook County Commoner - Monday, Feb 25, 13 @ 11:01 am:

    Over the weekend I listened to PBS interviews of single, African-American mothers living in Gary. Each owned a firearm (pistol) and I suspect, judging from comments, most carried on the street for self-protection.
    The program was likely produced by Indiana PBS, so it focused on Gary. However, my conversations with workers in my downtown Chicago office indicate a serious and escalating public safety issue in the poorer communities.
    Government cannot limit policing in poor neighborhoods and then deny residents the oppotunity to protect themselves.
    And as the salary and pension costs of unionized public safety personell continues to cause decreased services in many areas, the need for residents to arm themselves continues.
    The state and especially Chicago needs to pass some common sense concealed carry laws. They are not protecting residents, so they must allow residents to protect themselves.

  18. - Kevin Highland - Monday, Feb 25, 13 @ 11:14 am:

    I think the NRA/ISRA stance of no home rule boils down to the question of; Do inalienable rights change based on what city or county you are located. I would think, most people would agree you have the right to defend yourself regardless of what city you are in.

  19. - Liberty_First - Monday, Feb 25, 13 @ 11:20 am:

    Cook County Commoner:
    Farrakhan told a crowd of more than 7,000 people at the UIC Pavilion that national lawmakers are using Chicago’s violence epidemic to push for stronger gun control laws but said the Second Amendment has nothing to do with the spate of shootings in Chicago.
    “The guns that every one of our young people have, are they legal? No!” Farrakhan said.
    Instead, Farrakhan had a different idea for how to address gun violence. In addition to sending letters to black military leaders, Farrakhan said he planned to contact the city’s gang leaders to recruit gang members to “protect” any land the Nation of Islam might buy in the future.
    “All you gangbangers, we know you love to shoot, but you’re killing yourselves,” Farrakhan said. “All your weapons are illegal and you’re using them like savages.”
    But Farrakhan said gangbangers are “natural soldiers” and could be taught “the science of war” to become protectors of the Nation of Islam’s assets in the future.

  20. - langhorne - Monday, Feb 25, 13 @ 11:37 am:

    seriously, though, i think mental health considerations will be a significant skirmish line. it has been unwell individuals who have done the mass shootings and serial killings, so regardless of how they acquired their weapons, ordinary people may be required to divulge personal info, such as any recent diagnoses or certain types of prescriptions.

    with the auditor general finding that only 3 counties submit currently required mental health info, there is also the mental health issue relating to local officials (procedures, not the officials).

    another skirmish line may have to do with home rule. have we had rulings on previous carry bills as to their infringement of home rule? if they do, more votes are needed. if not, home rule units can pile on w more requirements, making a patchwork nightmare.

  21. - Just Observing - Monday, Feb 25, 13 @ 11:43 am:

    === Tell that to the NRA and ISRA. They’re the ones opposed to a regional/home rule compromise. ===

    No, it’s not just the NRA and ISRA… as a Chicagoan I too prefer not to have my constitutional rights squashed.

  22. - RNUG - Monday, Feb 25, 13 @ 12:37 pm:

    Arthur Andersen @ 10:35 am:

    Basically, the 7th said there was a right to carry outside the home. They did not explicitly say whether that right should be exercised via open carry or concealed carry; instead the 7th gave the GA 180 days to figure out what this State wnated to allow. If no new law is passed, both open carry and concealed carry would be allowed under most people’s reading of the 7th.

    Maybe I’m mis-reading things, but it seems to me a lot of people, especially in the north-east corner of the state, are scared of the sight of a gun and don’t want to see people carrying openly if that ended up being “allowed”. Plus there is the issue of accidently “concealing” if you put on a coat or sweater. If you are going to ban open carry, then the alternative is concealed carry.

    So if the GA is going to pass a new Unlawful Use of a Weapon law, it comes down to which gets banned or limited: open or concealed. As Rich noted in the column above, it may be sinking in they have to allow one or the other.

  23. - davidh - Monday, Feb 25, 13 @ 12:37 pm:

    From the Wall Street Journal’s write up about the 10th Circuit’s decision: “In a decision likely to hearten backers of gun-control measures, a federal appeals court in Denver said Friday that carrying concealed firearms isn’t protected by the Second Amendment.” The rest of the WSJ’s story is here:

  24. - Logic not emotion - Monday, Feb 25, 13 @ 12:51 pm:

    We have an unusual situation in that it appears both sides are hoping Lisa Madigan appeals the 7th’s decision to SCOTUS.

    I think the antis should look at other states and see if their doomsday scenarios have actually happened. I feel safer in most places in Indiana than I do in most places in Chicago.

    They should also consider that people like Mary Shepard are injured and/or killed as a result of not having access to a firearm before assuming they are on the moral high ground.

  25. - Jasper - Monday, Feb 25, 13 @ 12:56 pm:

    Logic NE,

    It is sort of hard to just look at other states when you guys are comparing McCarthy to Bull O’Connor. And now the gun lobby is saying that if people are going to vote for Robin Kelly then she’s going to ban soda and tell you what you can have for lunch.

    The moderates hear that sort of stuff and just conclude that the gun owners have gone off the deep end.

    You won. Try to lay low for 180 days.

  26. - Jasper - Monday, Feb 25, 13 @ 12:58 pm:

    My own reading of the NRA response to the Madigan (alleged) proposal is that the NRA must be convinced that the Madigan proposal passes constitutional muster.

    If not, why does it matter? Posner would just toss it leaving the NRA exactly where it wants to be.

  27. - wordslinger - Monday, Feb 25, 13 @ 1:11 pm:

    Logic, you talk about others laying out “doomsday scenarios” and claiming “high moral ground” yet I see nary a one.

  28. - Todd - Monday, Feb 25, 13 @ 1:16 pm:

    We havent seen a madigan proposal. But what we hear about we dont think passes muster. But puts us 2 more behind in litgation

  29. - ArchPundit - Monday, Feb 25, 13 @ 1:26 pm:

    ===The Supremes have said that carrying a gun outside the home for defense is constitutional

    Where did the Court rule on this? Heller and McDonald only apply to guns in the home. The Supreme Court may rule this way, but it has not yet.

  30. - Iaintcoonsey - Monday, Feb 25, 13 @ 2:07 pm:

    The 10 district ruling had to do with a non-resident suing to be allowed to carry in CO, not a resident carrying within home state. There is a difference between the 2 cases.

  31. - Anonymous-99 - Monday, Feb 25, 13 @ 3:10 pm:

    Haven’t read it yet, but this the decision:

  32. - Bigtwich - Monday, Feb 25, 13 @ 4:43 pm:

    Well, Iaintcoonsey, according to news stories the 10 th said “We conclude that the carrying of concealed firearms is not protected by the Second Amendment”

    Not sure I see a difference.

  33. - Bigtwich - Monday, Feb 25, 13 @ 4:51 pm:

    Having a split in the circuits also gives a state judge more leeway. Granted courts tend to give more weight to courts in their same area but the Cook County State’s Attorney now has a better argument.

  34. - Leave a Light on George - Monday, Feb 25, 13 @ 6:19 pm:

    Just so we all know that we all know what were are talking about. From the first few paragraphs of the 10th circuit’s decision.

    “Gray Peterson, a resident of Washington, applied for a concealed handgun license (“CHL”) from the ex officio sheriff of Denver, Colorado. Pursuant to state law, Colorado sheriffs may issue CHLs only to state residents. Colo. Rev. Stat. § 18-12-203(1)(a). Peterson’s application was accordingly denied, prompting Peterson to file suit against the Denver sheriff and Colorado’s executive director of the Department of Public Safety. Peterson claims that Colorado’s policy with respect to non-resident CHL applicants violates the Second Amendment, the Privileges and Immunities Clause of Article IV, and several other constitutional provisions.
    The district court concluded that the executive director of the Department of Public Safety is entitled to Eleventh Amendment immunity because he has no connection to the enforcement of the challenged statute. We agree with that conclusion. Colorado law requires “each sheriff to implement and administer” the CHL licensing scheme. Colo. Rev. Stat. § 18-12-201(3). Because sheriffs are responsible for administering the state’s CHL regime—not the executive director of the Department of Public Safety—
    Peterson’s claims against the latter do not fall within the Ex parte Young, 209 U.S. 123 (1908), exception to Eleventh Amendment immunity.
    With respect to Peterson’s claims against the Denver sheriff, we conclude that the carrying of concealed firearms is not protected by the Second Amendment or the Privileges and Immunities Clause. In Robertson v. Baldwin, 165 U.S. 275 (1897), the Supreme Court stated in dicta that “the right of the people to keep and bear arms is not infringed by laws prohibiting the carrying of concealed weapons.” Id. at 281-82. More recently, in District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570 (2008), the Court noted that “the majority of the 19th-century courts to consider the question held that prohibitions on carrying concealed weapons were lawful under the Second Amendment or state analogues,” and explained that “nothing in our opinion should be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions.” Id. at 626. In light of our nation’s extensive practice of restricting citizens’ freedom to carry firearms in a concealed manner, we hold that this activity does not fall within the scope of the Second Amendment’s protections.”

  35. - RNUG - Monday, Feb 25, 13 @ 8:38 pm:

    Leave a Light on George @ 6:19 pm,

    Doesn’t Colorado allow open carry of a hand gun without a permit?

    Don’t you only need the permit to carry concealed?

  36. - Anonymour - Monday, Feb 25, 13 @ 9:46 pm:

    Bigtwich, uh, no. A split in the Circuits may make it more likely the U.S. Supreme Court would take the case. But Illinois still has to follow the decision of the 7th Circuit. Illinois lost and has been ordered (or will be within 180 days) to comply with the 7th Circuit’s ruling. Anita Alvarez doesn’t get to choose to disobey a court order.

  37. - Arthur Andersen - Monday, Feb 25, 13 @ 10:37 pm:

    Thanks, guys. Get it now.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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* Illinois Department of Labor Director Hugo Chaviano Awards Governor’s Award for Contributions in Health and Safety to the Illinois Refining Division of Marathon Petroleum Company LP
* State Regulator Elected Treasurer of Interstate Medical Licensure Compact

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