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Our View: Concealed carry

Updated: January 14, 2013 7:22AM

And then there were none. Illinois’ status as the only state that does not allow the carrying of concealed loaded guns was threatened Tuesday when a federal appeals court gave the state 180 days to change its law.

But that doesn’t mean Illinois should immediately allow anyone who feels like it to start toting a pistol.

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, who said Tuesday that she is reviewing her options, should appeal the overbroad and split ruling by the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals. And if the courts won’t extend the deadline while considering the appeal, the Legislature will have to craft a law that meets the court’s standards while providing as many protections as possible for citizens who don’t carry guns.

The Legislature might even be able to find a way to continue banning concealed carry while rewriting the law to satisfy the appeals court, which said the current law doesn’t rest on sufficient justification. Short of that, the Legislature could consider a narrowly crafted law, such as that in New York, which has concealed carry in theory, but does not grant many permits.

We know there’s a large group of gun owners who want concealed carry and have pushed for it years. We don’t think that includes a majority of Lake Countians. Supporters of concealed carry have brought the issue to Springfield many times, but have not had enough votes to prevail.

While not denying the appeal of concealed carry to people who feel threatened, we’re concerned of the possibility of Wild West shootouts. In that regard, a training class for concealed carry must be mandated by the Legislature, and also banning weapons at certain venues.

Indeed, in her dissent, Appeals Judge Ann Williams wrote, “[the] Illinois Legislature . . . sought to ‘prevent situations where no criminal intent existed, but criminal conduct resulted despite the lack of intent, e.g., accidents with loaded guns on public streets or the escalation of minor public altercations into gun battles.’ . . . The danger of such situations increases if guns may be carried outside the home.”

The Legislature has every reason to limit that danger as much as possible, and it should continue to do so.

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