First of all congratulations!
Now you have a choice, dig in your heels and go for Constitutional Carry or accept the lesser privileged Shall Issue!
Here are my top reasons why holding out for Constitutional Carry is the best strategic idea!
You'll end up with the majority of Illinois with unrestricted carry and as a result:
- Illinois will become the 5th Constitutional Carry state.
- There will be no blood running in the streets and crime will fall. There is plenty of empirical evidence to back this up and this time it will be on the national radar, impossible for media and the under-informed public at large to ignore.
Chicago, due to home rule, will cherry pick all the restrictive carry licensing restrictions found in places like New York, Hawaii, New Jersey, California, etc. This is a good thing . . . let me repeat, this is a good thing (strategically speaking and explained below).
Here is my reasoning:
Going forward, the NRA/SAF and other gun-rights groups will want to challenge all the various State restrictions before the Supreme Court, but to do so they really NEED circuit splits to gain certiori. However, no circuit other than the 7th Circuit right now is handing out pro-2A decisions. Without a circuit split, there is little chance the Supreme Court will even take these cases. Unlike most of the other jurisdictions, where Federal Courts have refused to accept that the Second Amendment right to bear arms extends beyond the home, this is no longer the case in the 7th Circuit. Therefore, whatever the restrictive regulations Chicago happens to copy from other jurisdictions, they will invariably be subject to a strong legal challenge and be struck down one after the other in the 7th Circuit.
Chicago simply cannot adopt carry ordinances that don't make it impossible (or nearly so) for non-residents of Chicago to comply with, hence these people will almost certainly face a total carry ban within the city. Think how easy it is for a non-resident to carry in New York City. Since the 14th Amendment provides equal protection to ALL U.S. Citizens, there is no way that a short-term visitor to Chicago will not face a complete ban on carry for self-defense while they are in that city. Think of an expatriate American or a resident of Vermont that cannot obtain their own state-issued carry permit to satisfy Chicago (assuming Chicago even allows for reciprocity). You now have a very strong As Applied constitutional challenge to each barrier that Chicago may put in place that has the effect of preventing non-residents from exercise their fundamental right to carry a functional firearm available for immediate self-defense. That would be a defacto ban of the type that the Heller Court said wouldn't pass any level of scrutiny. Now you see why the Chicago restrictions would fall one-by-one.
I say get unrestricted carry for most of the state upfront and bring Chicago into line later using the courts. The other less-attractive alternative is to accept privileged shall-issue immediately (in exchange perhaps for state-preemption) but you'll have to go back to the courts if that floor is ever to be lowered state-wide as Chicago is unlikely to ever allow further liberalization of carry laws via the normal legislative process. Going the Shall-Issue route would likely mean no true Constitutional Carry in Illinois in your life-time, if not ever!
The NRA has already vowed that it will not allow Chicago to have less Rights than the rest of the State, it can and should accomplish this through the Courts! It is not moral, in my opinion, to subject the entire State of Illinois to privileged Shall-Issue just to win a State-wide Preemption concession.
Just my opinion, if it makes sense, please forward to your Illinois 2A leaders. Please feel free to post the above thoughts on IllinoisCarry.org or other forums for discussion.