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Massad Ayoob on Guns

Want to Comment on a blog post? Look for and click on the blue No Comments or # Comments at the end of each post.

Massad Ayoob


Thursday, December 13th, 2012

For some time now, Illinois has been the last state in the union with no provision in law for the ordinary citizen to carry a loaded gun in public to protect self and loved ones. The Seventh Circuit, in an action brought by the Second Amendment Foundation, has issued a decision that may finally bring Illinois in line with the rest of the country. Read it here:

An excellent analysis from SAF’s own Dave Workman may be found here:

Famed Federal judge Richard Posner, writing the majority decision, cited this Backwoods Home article:

I discussed the decision this week with Rich Pearson, executive director of the Illinois State Rifle Association. He and his people inside the fight on the ground in Springfield anticipate a tough legal battle still a head of them in the state legislature.

Anti-gunners and Chicago politicians are expected to throw up all kinds of barriers: ridiculously high permit fees, unreasonably long training requirements, and very likely a “may issue” format that will allow the issuing authorities to reserve carry permits for the wealthy and politically connected, as has been the case from Los Angeles to New York City for so many years. On the other side of the fight, some pro-gunners read it this way: since 180 days from the decision laws making concealed carry illegal become unconstitutional in Illinois, if no permit is in place it reverts to the Vermont Model of permitless carry becoming legal. Sometimes called, with semantic incorrectness, “Constitutional Carry,” this prospect alone should be enough to make anti-gun Chicago mayor Rahm Emmanuel awaken in the middle of the night with cold shivers. And of course, it’s still illegal to carry in Illinois for at least another six months.

Gonna be interesting. Would love to hear all y’all’s opinions on this, particularly the Illinois gun owners who’ve been living through the fine points of their state’s gun laws for so many years.


  1. Matt Rogers Says:

    Mr. Ayoob,
    Thanks for the great article. Until 4 years ago when I moved to Michigan, my family had been in Illinois since before the Blackhawk Indian war.
    It is good to see that Illinois is finally beginning the process.

  2. Johnm Says:

    My expectation is that Madigan and the rest are already lining up every delay tactic they can think of, in the hopes that their ally in the White House will have a chance to break the 5-4 Heller majority in SCOTUS. His two previous nominees have shown little regard for precedent or tradition on the court, and I’d expect that to continue.

  3. Tammy Says:

    I am hopeful Illinois will go shall issue, and that the 7th Circuit’s opinion will help persuade their 9th brethren in the trio of “may issue” challenges now pending there (two arising from here in California, and a third from Hawai’i).

    I am not, however, optimistic that the anti-gun crowd will back down so easily, despite ample proof that the main effect of gun control is to ensure that only criminals are armed. I saw a news article yesterday stating that the UK is reporting a 35% increase in gun-related crime last year despite the near-total ban on concealable weapons. And despite years of stats showing the UK’s per capita violent crime rate to now exceed that of the United States, nobody over there is acknowledging that the gun ban has been a failure or calling for its rescission.

    So, although the 7th Circuit’s decision (which I read in its entirety) was a well-reasoned piece of writing, I’m not necessarily optimistic that anti-gun politicians will let trivialities like facts and logic get in the way of their agenda.

  4. Tom McCord Says:

    The two best scenarios are these:

    1. The Illinois legislature is unable to enact any new ccw law in the next six months so it defaults to permit-less carry.

    2. The Illinois legislature enacts a ccw law but puts in so many ridiculous restrictions that the courts are forced to defined the limits of every state to restrict ccw and those restrictions are fairly reasonable that we can live with.

  5. Mike M. Says:

    This sword definitely seems to have two edges. If the time required to get to the SCOTUS is sufficient to permit the current administration to appoint one or two new justices, the possibility of the less favorable edge coming around at the 2nd Amendment may not be to the benefit of responsible and legally armed citizens. On the other hand it is possible that current justices get the case and all remains stable.
    Mike M. MAG40-Belt2012.

  6. SteveG Says:


    I’d like to hear your take on the notion that if no law is enacted Illinois will become like Arizona and Vermont with regard to the carrying of firearms. My gut tells me it won’t be that simple and will take further action from the courts. Am I wrong or is discretion the wiser course of action?


  7. James in OKC Says:

    Personally, I’m happy for the law-abiding citizens of the “Land of Lincoln”, but I too am worried about the possibility of the system screwing over reasonable people who wish to defend themselves. We can only watch the process unfold from a distance and pray for ‘a flash of lucidity’ to occur.
    I would also like to know what Illinois gun owners think about this decision.

  8. Jim Nadenbush Says:


    I don’t live in Illinois anymore, but my dear Mother does (she has a Utah permit now). There are two ways to view this.
    The optomistic view is that Chicago has thrown up the road blocks for years. However, Downstate has been in favor of concealed carry for many years, but couldn’t get past the Chicago contingent of legislators. Chicago saw no need to compromise on the issue. Perhaps now, given that the court has given them 180 to enact legislation, they (Chicago) will be less likely to dig in their heels on the issue. The optimist in me says reasonable legislation (cost aside) might be enacted. (On the cost issue, Illinois has a history of gouging citizens on items like this.)
    The less optimistic, and likely more realistic view, is that yes, they would seem likely to create a practical ban as hinted at in the dissenting opinion. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Governor Quinn have both been openly anti-gun for some time. Quinn’s frequent veto of pro-gun legislation could give the Chicago contingent of legislators hope that SOME compromise will be necessary to gain a super majority to over-ride a gubenatorial veto.

    Really, the Illinois police department has already examined every gun owner in the State given that Illinois residents must have a Firearm Owners Identification Card on them anytime they transport their gun or be at risk of confiscation. It would seem like an easy step to take to authorize carry. I am hopeful that will soon be able to carry when visiting my Mother, but I am NOT holding my breath.

    Former Illini

  9. Gary Slider Says:

    It will be very interesting to watch. There is no telling at this time which direction it will go or how it will end. No matter which way it goes I think I will enjoy seeing those in Chicago go ballistic (Pun Intended) over the next months just fretting about it. I am hoping they make me do a lot of work updating the Illinois page at It will be work that I will really enjoy doing!

  10. Long Island Mike Says:

    I haven’t seen a single mention of the decision on msm tv or cable. Just lots from costas, piers morgan and others moaning about the horror of owning a gun in any shape or form.

  11. Kevin Highland Says:

    Two things, I think you meant it is still illegal for 6 months = 180 days not 3 months

    Secondly a The head of the black caucus of the Chicago Alderman says it is about time concealed Carry comes to Illinois and Chicago.

  12. Randy Says:

    Mas, that’s quite an honor to be quoted in an Appellate Court decision. I applaud you. However, the quote used doesn’t fit the Backwoods Home issue that you linked to. I have read the article 4 times but can’t find the exact phrase.
    I may have to rewind my thinking about IL getting a MAY issue law instead of a SHALL issue law after reading Posner’s decision. He seems to realize that having CCW but with rules so strict that it all but limits only a few people won’t produce a viable result.
    Here in Rockford, IL we had a school desegregation lawsuit hanging over our heads for years and required forced busing. Cost was in the area of 560 million$. Judge Posner just recently officially ended the lawsuit and declared Rockford Schools officially desegregated. Hooray!

  13. Roger Sroka Says:

    I’m not really sure why I or others even live in this state any more. A politician who shall go nameless was on TV yesterday gloating while saying “WE democrats have a way of making things difficult for people, this gun issue will be no different.” Such idiocracy makes my blood boil.
    I will tell you this, I will trust the decision of twelve over caving in to the destructive politicians and criminals. Oh wait, that’s redundant, isn’t it?

  14. Stu Strickler Says:

    I like what Gary Slider says! Total preemption and honoring all states would be the icing on the cake.

  15. Mas Says:

    Corrected, Kevin, thanks for the catch.

    This is why I do the gun column, not the math column…:-(

  16. Mike Says:

    I am hoping that this stands, but have a healthy level of skepticism that the organized crime bosses known as the Chicago Democrat machine will drag this out and do enough of an end around to ‘effectively’ circumvent this ruling. I’ve lived in Illinois my entire life, the first 18 yrs of it in the heart of Crook County… While I did a happy dance when I heard about the ruling and the consequences of the legislature’s inaction, Lisa and Michael Madigan frighten me… we’ll see how this all shakes out, along with everyone else… please keep us in your prayers regarding this matter and Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah!

  17. Randy Says:

    One should remember that this was a 3 judge panel. To lighten the load on the court, cases are split up amoung 3 judges. If the loser decides to carry it further, the case will be heard before the entire court. Remember is was a split decision.
    Currently the court has one vacant seat. 4 judges were appointed by Ronald Reagan, 1 by George H.W. Bush, 2 by George W. Bush 1 by Obama and 2 by Bill Clinton. Remember Lisa Madigan is the State Attorney General and her father is the Speaker of the State House, the all powerful Michael Madigan who is the real power in the State. I would bet we will see this carried further. Don’t pop the Champagne corks just yet.

  18. Illinois Bob Says:

    Alas, Christmas has come early but knowing the politics of this state it will be a gift that never arrives. Any new gun law written here will be done by the powers that be in Chicago and then forced upon the rest of the state. Many more law suits will follow on those highly restrictive laws and like Mas said we will end up with laws that only allow those who don’t want the rest of us to carry to be able to carry. If you have money or the right political connections you will have the right to defend yourself and your family and if you’re just a nobody like me you won’t.

    Still, even though it is highly unlikely that the common folk will gain a right lost in this state the federal ruling will be significant to the rest of the country and be used as a basis of other states to loosen their restrictive laws on gun carry. The federal court recognized that a person’s right to self defense doesn’t stop at their front door and I am sure this will be very helpful in the fight for reciprocity laws.

    A glimmer of hope for Illinois, possibly a major leap for the nation.

  19. Chicago Guy Says:

    Please note that the state legislature here in Illinois over-rode Quinn’s recent amendment/veto of the ammo law by 78 to 28. The law was a simple piece of legislation to allow Illinois FOID holders to buy ammo from Illinois sellers. Quinn amended it to ban assault weapons! This was overturned. I don’t think the state legislature is any mood to put up with more power moves by this Governor.

  20. Elm Creek Smith Says:

    If Oklahoma can get on the reciprocity list (if there ever is such a thing), I won’t have to figure out interesting ways to avoid Illinois when I travel!


  21. Paul Says:

    Well Mas, it does indeed look like a silver lining at last over the Land of Lincoln. I suspect hizzoner in Chi.,plus the Grand Master gov. will try and pull a stunt and make it like Hawaii-a law on the books, but none ever issued. But I would propose this- simply make everyone’s FOID card a CCW after a given date, and presto, you instantly have millions of licensed carriers! Or, have a filibuster lasting 181 days, and then instant AK, AZ, VT, WY 🙂

  22. mark Says:

    I am afraid that this latest school shooting is the beginning of gun controls that may rival the firearms act of 1934. There are to many people in this country that own guns, but fail to properly secure them. The NRA will soon be coming under tremendous pressure for some kind of campaign for responsible gun ownership, and gun controls. With great power comes great responsibility. Guns are power in the hands of to many irresponsible people. Even though events like this are statistically rare, the media coverage is going to be bombastic. I have everybody jumping on my back now, because I have chosen the side of gun ownership. Everybody from liberals to Canadians are throwing this in my face.

  23. George L. Lyon, Jr. Says:

    Based on last year’s attempt to enact shall issue, there is a majority in the legislature in favor of shall issue. The governor can either accept a shall issue bill and sign it or veto and Illinois goes Vermont model. Either is ok with me. Sure the anti gun guys will try to put in every possible restriction, but unless the legislature changed considerably in November and I don’t know about that, these artifices should be defeated. The more interesting issue is whether Illinois applies for cert based on the split between circuits 2 and 7. Supreme Court would likely accept the case. In any event, I suspect 2nd circuit losers are filing for cert.

  24. Paul Says:

    Mark, I’m Canadian by birth, American by choice. I came here 7 years ago to get away from that socialistic ogligarchy, gunless by “choice”, and will never return.I’ve been an NRA member for more years than I can count, and can most definitely assure you that not every Canadian’s head is in the sand. Many are like you and I, and repressed. I escaped.

  25. Uncle Dave Says:

    While encouraging, talk to me in 180 days.

  26. Gerry In the Suburbs Says:

    Great news for the law-abiding citizens of Illinois who simply want the same rights guaranteed by the constitution that citizens of other states have been granted.
    I live in the relatively crime-free suburbs but have many friends still living in high crime areas of Chicago. They’re fed up with the elitist views of politicians like Rahm Emmanuel who cling to the argument that law enforcement is all that is needed to ensure public safety. The reality in Chicago (and other big cities as well) is that if you live in an upper middle class neighborhood a 911 call is answered quickly. If you live in neighborhoods of unarmed citizens confronted by armed gang members-you’re lucky if the 911 response ever comes. In 6 months that will all change, and as John Lott pointed out in his excellent studies of ccw vs. crime rates, Chicago will once again be a city run by its citizens.

  27. Richard Slater Says:

    I noticed your reference to “Pontiac’s War” and although I do not condone that particular incident, I say to you that you have not told the whole story which certainly preceeded that shameful attack by my ancestors. From the day of first contact with europeans, the Lenape, men, women, and their children suffered much worse fates, while their homeland was being stolen. Attacks wiping out whole villages. Gifts of blankets, from hospitals which were infected with small-pox, measles and various diseases to which my old people had no natural immunity.
    My ancestors did not start wars against the europeans. Infact, they welcomed them and helped them to survive. The Lenape even supported Washington and his colonial army (Treaty of Fort Pitt 1778). Find the treaty on the internet. The original is in the Library of Congress and is a document which you should read. Prior to first contact, the Lenape were considered the “Grandfather Tribe” by all the other native people in the New England area. The name Lenape translated means “the original people”. Our people had migrated from the west across a frozen water, mountains and great rivers and had settled in the PA., NY, and NJ area thousands of years ago. Some of our old stories tell of our hunters hunting mammoth along the ice , north of the Great Lakes. I thought you would like to know more about us. Blood can run very hot when your homes and family are being attacked and killed.

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