SPRINGFIELD — A two-front push is being made in Illinois to weaken some of the most restrictive gun regulation laws in the country.

By Andrew Thomason

SPRINGFIELD — A two-front push is being made in Illinois to weaken some of the most restrictive gun regulation laws in the country.

Gun-rights advocates claim that Illinois is violating the Second Amendment by prohibiting Illinois residents from being able to, in some fashion, carry a firearm in public.

A hearing on one such case, in which Michael Moore, of Champaign, and the Second Amendment Foundation Inc., a gun-rights advocacy group, are suing Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s office and the state of Illinois, is scheduled today in the U.S. District Court in Springfield.

Recent events around the nation could give gun-rights advocates the momentum they need to win a fight that’s time and again seen them on the losing side.

Wisconsin passed a concealed carry law earlier this year, leaving Illinois the only state that prohibits nearly everyone from carrying a firearm, concealed or not, anywhere that is not their property or another person’s property with permission.

Madigan’s office argues in court filings that the state is following constitutional law, because a person isn’t outlawed from owning a firearm, just limited in the manner he can wield it.

A nearly identical lawsuit with nearly identical arguments is unfolding in a U.S. District Court in southern Illinois. The Illinois State Rifle Association, or ISRA, a group dedicated to furthering firearm rights and affiliated with the National Rifle Association, or NRA, is backing both cases but is only a plaintiff in the southern Illinois instance.

ISRA is joined by Mary Shepard as the plaintiffs in the lawsuit against Madigan and the state of Illinois.

“We have a very strong case,” Todd Vandermyde, a NRA lobbyist, said. “When you look at some of the briefs that have been filed by the state and attorney general and some of the arguments they are trying to make, I think it is clear they are very, very nervous.”

Vandermyde specifically pointed to an argument made Madigan’s office that since the state doesn’t outlaw openly carrying a loaded gun outside of cities, towns and other incorporated parts of counties, there is not full scale prohibition.

“The laws being challenged here are reasonable measures to ensure public safety and do not violate the constitution,” said Maura Possley, a spokeswoman for Madigan.

Possley declined to comment further because the cases are ongoing.

A recent court decision indicates how gun bans are being found to be unconstitutional. One such case happened in Chicago where the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the city’s handgun ban in a ruling that recognized a person’s right to have a handgun that can be used for self-defense in the home.

In response, the Chicago City Council required people to be trained at a shooting range if they wanted to own a handgun. Then the council made shooting ranges illegal in city limits.

Judge Ilana Diamond Rovner, of the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago, said the court overturned the city’s regulations because the court equated it to “a thumbing of the municipal nose at the Supreme Court.”

Those two decisions followed a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that ended Washington, D.C.’s gun ban in 2008.

Nearly every year in recent history some lawmakers in the General Assembly take up the case of repealing the concealed carry ban only to see it die for lack of support.

This spring, a concealed carry proposal garnered a vote of 65-52 in the Illinois House. The measure didn’t pass, however, because of a technicality that required it to get a “supermajority,” or 71 votes, in the House to pass. 

Join the Conversation


  1. A Liberal for Liberalization

    I'm a liberal who once believed in gun control, until I got robbed at gunpoint. Now I realize the term 'gun control' is an oxymoron. The only people controlled by gun controls are the good, honest ones. The rest don't care and never did. People who deny this reality are everywhere. They refuse be enlightened.

    I give to the NRA, I have several guns where I need them, and I sleep like a baby.

    And I probably live next door to you.


  2. Ban them all

    The only people who should be allowed to even possess a firearm are members of law enforcement. That's it. Nobody else

    1. You can’t ban them all

      You can't ban them all. That is the whole point. There are millions of guns out there, many in the hands of bad folks. So dream on. I'll do so with a gun under my pillow.

      1. Very true.

        If all the guns in the world magically disappeared in a puff of smoke, people would quickly manufacture them in their basements, garages, etc.

        I myself have two close friends who each have the tools & know-how to build deadly projectile weapons (in their home workshops). Most of you probably know at least one or two. The Human species has unlocked this technology. It cannot be un-learned.

    2. That’s right-

      Keep the guns in the hands of the Law Enforcement people. Now answer me this: Would they be the same ones that beat up defenseless female bartenders while in a drunken stupor?  The same law enforcement members who drink and drive and then demand "Special Treatment" because they're all Brother Officers?

      Look at the news and see for yourself how many news articles there are about off duty cops (legally carrying guns) beating up on civilians.

      Yup- those are the Law Enforcement people I want protecting me and MY community. Do we have then in Evanston? Maybe, maybe not. Statistics and the numbers game will say we have a high probability of having a few on the Evanston PD, but that's just a statistics game and I believe the local PD is better than the numbers would show.

      Pull your head out of your posterior and realize that what you are offering is nothing more than a police state, where the citizenry is disarmed and helpless in the face of potentially corrupt politicians and police. Sound like 1939 Germany? Post-revolution Russia in the 1920's?  Not to mention that police response time in an emergency can be 2 to 20 minutes, while an armed, properly trained and licensed citizen can have a violent confrontation resolved or contained in seconds.

      Banning guns works ONLY to keep them out of the hands of honest people, not criminals.

      1. Isn’t it funny how people do

        Isn't it funny how people do not hesitate to use stereotypes when talking about police officers? If race or ethnicity had been mentioned, this article would blow up. But because you are only stereotyping people who would give their lives to protect yours, it will not be an issue.

  3. pick your cliché

    I know it's cliché, but here I go again.

    1. When seconds count, the police are only minutes away.
    2. Guns are like fire extinguishers; you pray you never need it, but thankful it's there when you do.
    3. The 2nd Amendment is the right that guarantees all the others.

    Illinois is now the only state which does not have some form of carry law, but that will soon change. Crime rates plummet everywhere Americans are able to exercise this guaranteed right, so why resist? Estimates show that there are between 800,000 and 2,500,000 DGU's (defensive gun uses) each year in the US. At the low end, that translates to more than 2,000 DGU's each day. What is a DGU?


    It's probably a good idea to get comfortable with the idea, because it's coming (and you'll all be safer for it).

    Also – as an Evanstonian who loves Evanston, I'd be willing to take any of you to the range for a bit of training. I've been around guns my whole life.

  4. Ban them all

    I remember thanksgiving dinners growing up, my carpenter grandfather always added something beyond turkey to the table, pheasant, duck, rabbit, venison.  He and many in my family hunted, fished, tended gardens as large as a city block.  Guess we were localvores long before the progressive urbanistas ever had a clue.

    It is a lifestyle that is woven into the very soul of this nation and those gun owners were and are responsible, respectable citizens, true stewards of natural habitat, true salt of the earth.

    I hear so often the urban/suburban anti gun advocates speak of them as rural bumpkins, uneducated & irresponsible, redneck hillbillies with no right to their chosen activities.

    They even try to change the constitution of the nation to fit within their own narrow urban/suburban experience because theirs is the only interpretation of the 2nd amendment allowable, the simple fact of opposing opinion has no bearing.  In reality that very type of thinking with it's fascist intonations is what the nation really needs to keep watch out for.  That very thinking in modern society makes the absolute best case for advocacy of gun rights and why I, a non gun owner, supports their right. 

    I could accept some type of gun controls in urban environments with their high murder rates, especially small cheap handguns.  But the tactics and words of the anti gun people, the train on a range but then make the range illegal, the poster called "abolitionist" and the "ban them all" to everybody, creates the environment of give no inch, fight every single measure because one see's too clearly their end intent.  To me the fight is bigger than regulating pistols an one I hope they continue to resist.

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