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In the News: Illinois Supreme Court Affirms Right to Carry Firearms

Illinois Supreme Court affirms constitutional right to carry firearms outside their home.

The state of Illinois, which was the last state to set aside its ban against carrying concealed firearms, is in the news again as the state Supreme Court further broadens the interpretation of the Second Amendment [see the court's opinion here:].

According to the state's high court, the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which states "[T]he right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed", creates a distinction between 'keep[ing]' arms (that is, having firearms in one's home) and 'bear[ing]' them (possessing them while outside one's home). The court ruled that both keeping and bearing arms, while subject to reasonable regulation, are nonetheless separate and enforceable rights. In making this determination, the court struck down a state law that made it illegal to carry uncased, loaded guns outside one's home or property.

In recent years the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that "the Second Amendment protects the right to possess a handgun in the home for the purpose of self defense." McDonald v. Chicago, 561 U.S. at 3050 (emphasis added) (upholding the U.S. Supreme Court's sweeping 2008 ruling in District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570).

The Illinois Supreme Court's ruling reflects a deepening recognition in contemporary society that the right of a U.S. citizen to bear arms is fundamental and tremendously important.