7th Circuit Court of Appeals holds that the Second Amendment applies outside the home

In an opinion issued today in the Illinois case of Moore v. Madigan, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals held that the Second Amendment “right to keep and bear arms for the purpose of self-defense … implies a right to carry a loaded gun outside the home.

The opinion is a joy to read as Judge Posner proceeds to shred the historical and public policy arguments against carry put forward by Illinois.

Here are some examples to warm your heart on this cold December afternoon:

Both Heller and McDonald do say that “the need for defense of self, family, and property is most acute” in the home, id. at 3036 (emphasis added); 554 U.S. at 628, but that doesn’t mean it is not acute outside the home. Heller repeatedly invokes a broader Second Amendment right than the right to have a gun in one’s home, as when it says that the amendment “guarantee[s] the individual right to possess and carry weapons in case of confrontation.” 554 U.S. at 592. Confrontations are not limited to the home.


Twenty-first century Illinois has no hostile Indians. But a Chicagoan is a good deal more likely to be attacked on a sidewalk in a rough neighborhood than in his apartment on the 35th floor of the Park Tower.

A woman who is being stalked or has obtained a protective order against a violent ex-husband is more vulnerable to being attacked while walking to or from her home than when inside. She has a stronger self-defense claim to be allowed to carry a gun in public than the resident of a fancy apartment building (complete with doorman) has a claim to sleep with a loaded gun under her mattress. But Illinois wants to deny the former claim, while compelled by McDonald to honor the latter.

That creates an arbitrary difference. To confine the right to be armed to the home is to divorce the Second Amendment from the right of self-defense described in Heller and McDonald.

The court has placed a 180 day stay to allow Illinois a chance to put together a shall-issue legislative solution in the state. But anyone familiar with Illinois politics can expect that the courts will be involved again before this issue is finally resolved in a constitutional manner.

In the meantime, this holding may be the first link in a chain that will finally put an end to the racist and discriminatory may-issue permitting schemes that still exist in a few less-enlightened states.

Merry Christmas America!

About John Pierce

Monachus Lex is written by Virginia attorney John Pierce. John is a life-long gun rights advocate, an NRA certified instructor and co-founder of the nationwide gun rights group OpenCarry.org.

He has an undergraduate degree in Computer Information Systems, an MBA from George Mason University and is a 2012 Honors Graduate of Hamline University School of Law in St. Paul, MN.

Professionally, John is a member of the American Bar Association Second Amendment Civil Rights Litigation Subcommittee and his writings have been published by the ABA Civil Rights Litigation Committee and the ABA Minority Trial Lawyer Committee.

In addition, his open carry advocacy has been featured on Nightline and The Daily Show With Jon Stewart.
This entry was posted in Chicago, Illinois, McDonald v. Chicago, Permit Requirements, Second Amendment Case Law, Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to 7th Circuit Court of Appeals holds that the Second Amendment applies outside the home

  1. SteveG says:

    I fully expect the paid lobbyists of the State University system to come out swinging to keep guns off of campuses. Now the question is does the use of State funds to attempt to deny a civil right constitute an ethics violation?

    Such fun, such fun.

  2. Pingback: 7th Circuit Court of Appeals holds that the Second Amendment applies outside the home « Tarpon's Swamp

  3. Grapeshot says:

    The momentum builds and swells one court case at a time. Indeed good news.

    Will be very interesting to see how this plays out i.e. what impediments they will throw out there.

  4. Pingback: John Pierce’s article for 12/11/12 « Gun Rights Examiner Article Watch

  5. Haappy New Yeaaaaaarrrr!

    . . .and Merry Christmas!

  6. ron says:

    A joy to read?

    This decision justifies training courses as requirements to gun ownership (bottom page 16). This decision justifies needing a reason or “just cause” to carry (pg 17). Furthermore, it justifies “no gun zones” to keep armed citizens at the mercy of criminals (pg 15). That’s the majority!

    The dissent goes on to say that RKBA doesn’t mean outside the home.

    So expect Illinois to have a mandatory 360 day training course with a signed affidavit of “just cause” to carry.

    The government exists to protect and uphold our Rights…not tell us where they are and are not applicable…http://tinyurl.com/cyk94to

    • John Pierce says:


      I may have been a little exuberant after reading some of the pro-self-defense comments in the beginning of the opinion. It is still a win given the state of the law in Illinois but you are correct that it justifies may-issue which is NOT good for us. 🙁


  7. Pingback: 7th Circuit ruling makes Supreme Court review of right to carry likely | OpenCarry.org

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