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Our View: Court forces state’s hand on conceal-carry

Published: Thursday, Dec. 13, 2012 5:30 a.m. CDT

Illinois lawmakers have no choice now but to address the state’s antiquated conceal-carry law.

A federal appeals court made sure of that this week when it struck down an outright ban on carrying concealed weapons in the state.

The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals is giving the General Assembly three months to write a new law that legalizes concealed carry.

While lawmakers have plenty of other issues they need to address – pension reform and budget deficits, to name two big ones – they now must add conceal carry to the list because they’ve failed to address it in the past.

For years, Illinois has been the only state in the country that hasn’t allowed qualified individuals to carry guns under some circumstances. That’s right, all 49 other states have some form of law in place allowing qualified individuals to carry weapons.

Of the 49, 37 states issue licenses to carry concealed weapons to individuals who meet certain requirements and satisfy background checks. That’s our preference, as long as the requirements include regular gun safety classes.

Legislators knew this was coming when the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Chicago’s citywide handgun ban in 2010. But as with most other things they touch, they failed to fix it.

The main argument that opponents of conceal carry use is that it would lead to an outbreak in gun violence. But that myth has proven unfounded in other states. Criminals aren’t abiding by the current state law that prohibits concealed carry.

It’s time that law-abiding Illinoisans are on a level playing field. It’s too bad that it’s taking a court decision to decide it for us.

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