Illinois residents finally may get from the federal courts a right that the state legislature has denied them: the right to carry a gun. It's about time.
A federal appeals court in Chicago gave Illinois 180 days to enact a concealed carry law. Our advice to state lawmakers and Attorney General Lisa Madigan is to just do it rather than waste time and tax dollars appealing the decision.
This isn't a radical, activist court making its own law. This is a sensible interpretation of the Second Amendment and the people's right to own a gun for self-defense -- a right residents of the other 49 states already have.
As the two-judge majority points out in the opinion, the need for self-defense extends beyond a person's home. Indeed, people are more likely to face danger walking down a street than they are behind locked doors. People clearly have the right to have a gun at the ready in their own home, so why not when they are outside of it?
Again, this isn't new ground. Illinois is the only state without concealed carry. In the other 49 states there is no evidence that it has lessened public safety. If anything, concealed carry makes criminals more wary of confronting someone.
Gov. Pat Quinn made a big deal after the ruling of saying he will insist that any law include "reasonable restrictions." That's grandstanding on Quinn's part; no one has suggested anything less. That's why the court is giving Illinois time to write and enact a law.
What would be unreasonable is if Illinois continues as the lone holdout on concealed carry and fights this ruling.