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Illinois' bid for concealed carry rejected

| Friday, Feb. 22, 2013, 8:36 p.m.

CHICAGO — A federal appeals court on Friday narrowly rejected Illinois' request to reconsider a ruling that found the state's concealed carry weapons ban unconstitutional, leaving lawmakers in the only state that prohibits concealed carry more certain than ever they must come up with a new law.

The 5-4 ruling by the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals gave state Attorney General Lisa Madigan the option of appealing to the U.S. Supreme Court — a move that could affect gun laws in other states.

The decision also came on the same day that state lawmakers held a hearing on the issue in Chicago, a city that's drawn national attention for its gun violence and rising homicide rate, including last month's death of a 15-year-old honor student a mile from President Obama's home.

Madigan said in a statement that she has not yet decided whether to appeal. But she said a dissent written by four of the judges “provided a clear framework to guide the legislature in drafting a new law.”

Those judges said some restrictions, including limits on who may carry and where they may do so, could be considered constitutional.

“With the 180-day deadline still in place, it is critical that the legislature continue to work to enact a law that will protect public safety,” said Madigan, a Democrat from Chicago.

In Chicago, at the second of a series of state House Judiciary Committee hearings, word of the court decision seemed to change the tenor of various speakers' comments.

Advocates who for years have fought for gun control legislation took turns urging lawmakers to make sure the bill they pass prohibits guns in places such as schools, hospitals, restaurants, churches, nursing homes and commuter trains.

“It would be a recipe for disaster,” Chicago Transit Authority President Forrest Claypool said of allowing guns on public transportation.

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