Judge Richard Posner, a Reagan appointee and one of the University of Chicago Law School’s leading conservative intellectuals, rejected laws against carrying guns in public, declaring that "the constitutional right of armed self-defense is broader than the right to have a gun in one’s home."
To justify his decision, Posner reached all the way the back to the 18th Century, when settlers were required to carry guns outside the home to protect themselves against hostile Indians. While conceding there are no hostile Indians in modern Chicago, Posner argued that there are still hostile people lurking out of doors.
"[A] Chicagoan," he wrote, "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." (Park Tower is a Gold Coast condominium.)
Posner’s order to the legislature:
The Supreme Court’s interpretation of the Second Amendment therefore compels us to reverse the decisions in the two cases before us and remand them to their respective district courts for the entry of declarations of unconstitutionality and permanent injunctions.
Nevertheless we order our mandate stayed for 180 days to allow the Illinois legislature to craft a new gun law that will impose reasonable limitations, consistent with the public safety and the Second Amendment as interpreted in this opinion, on the carrying of guns in public.
Dissenting was Judge Ann Claire Williams, a Clinton appointee and a professor at Northwestern and John Marshall. Wrote Williams:
That a legislature can forbid the carrying of firearms in schools and government buildings means that any right to possess a gun for self-defense outside the home is not absolute, and it is not absolute by the Supreme Court’s own terms.