Berron v. Ill. Concealed Carry Licensing Review Bd., No. 15-2404 (7th Cir. 2016)Annotate this Case
After the Supreme Court’s 2010 holding that the Second Amendment applies to the states, the Seventh Circuit concluded that states must permit law-abiding and mentally healthy persons to carry loaded weapons in public. Illinois enacted a system for issuing permits to carry concealed firearms, 430 ILCS 66/1. Plaintiffs applied for concealed-carry permits, but were rejected because law enforcement agencies objected. They were told that there were objections, but not by whom or why. Illinois subsequently changed its regulations to require that such information be given and that the applicant be allowed to respond. District judges then rejected plaintiffs’ claims, stating that plaintiffs’ proper recourse was to apply for licenses under the new rules. None of the plaintiffs filed another application. The Seventh Circuit rejected their “facial” challenges to the law. A federal court should not assume that the state will choose the unconstitutional path when a valid one is open. Rejecting a challenge to the existence of a permit requirement as a “prior restraint,” the court stated Illinois is entitled to check an applicant’s record of convictions, and any concerns about his mental health, close to the date the applicant proposes to go armed on the streets. The court upheld the statute’s placing the burden on the state to justify denials, using a preponderance standard, and rejected a challenge to the composition of the concealed carry board.