SPRINGFIELD (AP) — Gov. Pat Quinn said Wednesday that he wants the Illinois attorney general to appeal a federal court ruling that the state's last-in-the-nation concealed carry ban is unconstitutional, a move that would take it before the U.S. Supreme Court.
But Attorney General Lisa Madigan said she prefers to wait and see whether lawmakers craft a new law this spring that would allow the concealed carry of weapons, as the federal appeals court ordered them to do.
A three-judge panel of the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals struck down Illinois' ban last year and gave lawmakers until early June to legalize the practice. Last month, the court declined Madigan's request that the full appeals court reconsider the ruling.
The matter has led to intense hours-long hearings at the State Capitol, where lawmakers and anti-violence advocates from Chicago — which has seen a spike in violence — have been pitted against gun rights advocates from less populated and more conservative areas. The matter has placed Illinois in the spotlight at a time when the nationwide debate over gun control has been reignited.
Quinn, a Chicago Democrat who favors strict gun control including an assault weapons ban, said violence has been an "epidemic" in parts of the state and Illinois should be the nation's leader in keeping the concealed carry ban in place.
"The only hope now would be to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court," he told reporters after an unrelated event. "The attorney general ought to take a look at that and pursue that."
Madigan, who previously said she hadn't decided whether to appeal, appeared at the same event and said she thinks Illinois' current law banning concealed carry is constitutional. But she also wants to wait and see what lawmakers do.