Last time we addressed the continuing change in concealed carry laws, the law had been passed, subsequently vetoed by Governor Quinn, and then overturned by the state senate. According to the language of the law, firearm owners would not be able to take advantage of the law until 2014, while lawmakers worked out the regulations and restrictions in regard to the issuing of permits. This provision did not sit well with many pro-concealed carry enthusiasts. As a result, they immediately sought judicial intervention in federal court in the form of an order, decreeing the law effective as of its passing (July 9).
East St. Louis U.S. District Judge William Stiehl threw out the lawsuit filed by Mary Shepard and the Illinois State Rifle Association, siding with the state and saying the legal action is moot. Shepard and the rifle group had argued it was unconstitutional to make people wait for the permit process to be outlined under the new concealed carry law. Shepard, in court filings Stiehl weighed, called such a delay unreasonable and insisted it “constitutes an unacceptable perpetuation of the defendants’ infringement of the Second Amendment rights.” While noting she wasn’t challenging elements of the new permitting process, Shepard said her issue was over “the complete ban on carrying firearms that continues to exist until the permitting process is up and running.” In a 10-page ruling last Friday, Stiehl agreed with the position of Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s office: Challenging the legality of the span state police have to set up the program would require Shepard and the state rifle group to file a new complaint spelling out why such a wait is onerous or illegal.
The group, led by Shepard, has now asked a federal appeals court to intervene. The notice of appeal to the Chicago-based 7th U.S. Circuit of Appeals by Shepard and the Illinois State Rifle Association came three days after U.S. District Judge William Stiehl tossed out their lawsuit. It was not immediately clear how soon the 7th Circuit might hear arguments about Stiehl’s ruling or decide the matter.
Despite the judicial ramifications of these proceedings, some counties in Illinois have chose to pass there own de facto legislation in the form of non-enforcement. According to www.illinoiswatchdog.org, “Prosecutors in Madison County, along with Macon, Randolph, Tazewell, and handful of other counties have either announced they will not take cases against law-abiding citizens who are simply carrying a gun, as long as they have a valid Illinois firearms owner identification card.”
These are confusing times in Illinois. A citizen with a valid identification card may carry his/her firearm without repercussion in some counties and be arrested in others. Should the 7th Circuit decline to hear or decide the appeal, this uncertain state of affairs will continue until the permitting process is finalized. I would be remiss if I did not suggest that you do not carry a concealed weapon anywhere in Illinois until the permits are issued. However, if you choose to and find yourself in legal jeopardy it is important to contact a qualified Illinois Criminal Defense Attorney.