After the United States Supreme Court struck down a law that required New York residents to demonstrate a special need for obtaining a concealed carry permit, Illinois legal experts are weighing in on whether the ruling will have an impact on the state’s gun laws and policies.
The 6-3 ruling, authored by Justice Clarence Thomas, asserted that laws requiring people to demonstrate a particular need for carrying a gun in order to get a license violated the Second Amendment right to “keep and bear arms.”
Thomas wrote that the Constitution “protects an individual’s right to carry a handgun for self-defense outside the home.”
Victor Henderson of the Henderson Parks, LLC law firm says that the ruling could have some impact on gun laws in other states, including in Illinois, but cautioned that the bigger takeaway from the ruling is that the Supreme Court is even willing to tackle gun-rights cases after showing hesitation in doing so in recent decades.
“The significance of the ruling is that the Supreme Court has not been very active in the last several years in terms of addressing Second Amendment or gun issues, and so because the New York law was about 100 years old, the fact that the Supreme Court waded into this issue at this point in time is something that appears to have national implications,” he said.
Henderson says that the city of Chicago and the state of Illinois, both of whom have more restrictive gun laws than other states, could potentially see challenges brought to those regulations based on the latest Supreme Court ruling.
“The concern is that this ruling will affect various state legislatures and it will affect various cities,” Henderson said. “So the cities and the states that are attempting to put in place laws that are more restrictive and make it more difficult for you to carry guns will wind up having those laws struck down.”
Illinois wasn’t mentioned specifically by the Supreme Court as having “special need” provisions in its concealed carry laws, and Attorney General Kwame Raoul says that the ruling won’t have an immediate impact on the state.
“Today’s decision striking down New York’s statutory scheme does not affect Illinois’ concealed-carry laws or other gun safety measures, and the steps that we have taken as an office to prevent gun violence and build safe communities remains preserved,” he said in a statement. “In the wake of the numerous occurrences of shocking gun violence that have taken place around the country, we continue to do all we can.”
Henderson says that the ruling could potentially “make it easier for people to carry guns” throughout the country, and some legal experts have speculated that the ruling could open the door for states with more restrictive gun laws, like Illinois, to be required to honor gun permits and other documentation from other states with less-severe restrictions.
That will likely have to be adjudicated by courts, but the immediate impact of dropping some barriers to gun ownership in other states will have an impact on Illinois, Henderson asserts.
“That’s how it affects us here in Chicago and how it affects us in Cook County and in Illinois, is that this ruling eventually, if not now, will make it easier for people to carry guns all over the country,” he said.