Conflicting Circuit Court Rulings Could Set the Stage for Supreme Court Review of Concealed Carry Laws

According to Adam Winkler, a UCLA professor of constitutional law and author of "Gunfight: The Battle Over the Right to Bear Arms in America," the next significant gun rights cases that will come before the Supreme Court will likely address the right to carry firearms in public, an issue that the high court has yet to rule on.

"They've said you can have a gun, and you can have a gun in your home," Winkler told Christina Wilkie in her Feb. 25 Huffington post article. "So the logical next step is to see where else you can have one. The next great battle in the war over the Second Amendment is going to be who gets to argue concealed carry rights."

On Friday, Feb. 22, circuit courts issued two significant rulings regarding concealed carry rights that, conceivably, could set the stage for a seminal review by the High Court.

For Second Amendment advocates, the decisions represent good news, bad news verdicts: While the 7th Circuit declined to preserve an Illinois law barring concealed carry, the 10th Circuit declared concealed-carry bans to be constitutional.

The 7th Circuit Court ordered Illinois lawmakers to rewrite the nation's toughest restrictions on carrying a concealed weapon in public by mid-June, upholding the Court's December 2012 decision that struck down as unconstitutional Illinois' total ban on carrying firearms for self-defense outside one's home or business.

Illinois was the only one of the 50 states to ban most residents from carrying concealed weapons until the Court's December ruling. Illinois has the option of seeking review by the U.S. Supreme Court, but will have to first deal with the June deadline to amend its current law.

While the 7th Circuit Court in Chicago was ruling concealed carry bans unconstitutional, the 10th Circuit Court in Denver was ruling concealed carry bans are, in fact, constitutional.

The ruling in Peterson v. Martinez involves Washington State resident, Gray Peterson. In 2011, a federal judge tossed out Peterson's lawsuit filed against the city of Denver and Colorado's Department of Public Safety, claiming they violated his Second Amendment right to bear firearms by denying his concealed weapons permit.

Peterson had a concealed weapons permit in Washington State, but Colorado only recognizes weapons permits issued by states that recognize Colorado permits. Washington State does not recognize Colorado permits.

In its ruling, the three-judge 10th Circuit panel cited a Supreme Court ruling that "the right of the people to keep and bear arms is not infringed by laws prohibiting the carrying of concealed weapons."

"The broad wording of the decision in Peterson v. Martinez creates a far-reaching national precedent against carrying a loaded handgun outside the home,' writes Larry Bodine, Editor-in-Chief of Lawyers.com in a Feb. 25 huffingtonpost.com column.