Crimson Trace

December 12, 2012

A Big Win and A Significant Loss

Barring another Rube Goldberg-esque procedural nightmare to complicate the process, it seems Illinois residents may -finally- have the ability to carry concealed firearms legally. The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals issued a ruling yesterday that struck down the state's ban on carrying a weapon in public. The judges ruled the ban was unconstitutional, but simultaneously gave the state 180 days to put their own version of a law into place.

The Court's ruling told the story:

"We are disinclined to engage in another round of historical analysis to determine whether eighteenth-century America understood the Second Amendment to include a right to bear guns outside the home. The Supreme Court has decided that the amendment confers a right to bear arms for self-defense, which is as important outside the home as inside," the judges ruled.

"The theoretical and empirical evidence (which overall is inconclusive) is consistent with concluding that a right to carry firearms in public may promote self-defense. Illinois had to provide us with more than merely a rational basis for believing that its uniquely sweeping ban is justified by an increase in public safety. It has failed to meet this burden.

"The Supreme Court's interpretation of the Second Amendment compelled the appeals court to rule the ban unconstitutional, the judges said. But the court gave 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."

The Second Amendment Foundation, as you can imagine, is celebrating yet another victory in the courts. Having already prevailed in the District of Columbia and the City of Chicago, the gun rights group is looking forward to seeing what the Illinois legislature comes up with.

"We are very happy with Judge Posner's majority opinion," says Second Amendment Foundation founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb. "This is a victory for Illinois citizens who have been long denied a right recognized in the other 49 states; to have the means necessary for self-defense outside the home.

"In the broader sense," he added, "this ruling affirms that the right to keep and bear arms, itself, extends beyond the boundary of one's front door. This is a huge victory for the Second Amendment."

While the victory may be sweet today, no one is anticipating Illinois simply rolling over without some sort of legal wrangling. Today, despite the City of Chicago's hand gun ban having been overturned by the United States Supreme Court, it is still virtually impossible to meet the qualifications required by the city to receive a concealed carry permit.

With this win, however, Illinois anti-gun legislators have been served notice that their continued intransigence regarding the right to own- and carry -handguns may have backfired. Last year, anti-gun legislators thwarted attempts to institute a high-restrictive concealed carry law. With the Seventh Circuit's decision, that law would be virtually guaranteed to be a non-starter.

However, it may be that in 180 days, there will not be a single state without some sort of concealed carry provision.

It's about time.

We're sad to confirm that the shooting sports and entertainment business has lost one of its best showmen.

Fast-draw and precision shooting artist Bob Munden, 70, died Tuesday after suffering a heart attack. According to family members, Munden was returning home to Butte from a Missoula, Montana hospital with his wife and performance partner Becky when he began complaining of chest pains.

He was pronounced dead on arrival at St. James Healthcare in Butte.

Bob Munden in action. His abilities with any gun were amazing, but his abilities with a single-action revolver bordered on science fiction. Photo from www.bobmunden.com
Munden has been a major figure in fast-draw and precision shooting since his first foray into professional shooting at the age of eleven. Since then, he's held virtually every speed shooting title, and was recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as the "fastest man with a gun who ever lived."

During what his wife of fifty years calls a "incredible, memorable life together" the Mundens performed shooting exhibitions across the United States, Europe and Asia. In those shows, the pair - both champion shooters - amazed crowds whether demonstrating fast-draw with blanks or making amazing shots with live ammunition. Despite health problems, Munden performed live-ammunition exhibitions in California and Kansas as recently as 2011.

Munden also appeared on many television shows, from Ripley's Believe It or Not to longstanding appearances on Shooting USA and Shooting USA's Impossible Shots. His affiliation with Shooting USA founder Jim Scoutten began

Shooting USA's Jim Scoutten says Munden was "an amazing talent, who never failed to make the shot- no matter how unlikely the shot may have appeared."

But Scoutten says that's not the only reason Munden was so liked. "He was a showman who loved what he did, and that came across whenever and wherever he was."

But there's no debating his ability to pull off seemingly impossible shots, whether making repeated hits on targets at ranges in excess of 300 yard- with a Smith & Wesson snub-nosed J-frame to splitting a playing card in two - after he tossed it into the air. When he appeared on Stan Lee's "Superhumans" Munden drew a gun and shot a pair of balloons spaced six feet apart with two shots that -without the help of super slow motion technology- were virtually indistinguishable from a single show.

He was also renowned for his methods of customizing his favorite firearm - the single action .45 caliber revolver.

Munden is survived by his wife Becky, his daughters Natalie and Mitzi; grandson Levi, granddaughter Kaycee, his mother; three brothers and a sister; nieces, nephews, friends and millions of fans.

According to Bob's wishes his remains will be cremated. A memorial and celebration of life is to be scheduled "during warmer weather in 2013" but a small event for local neighbors and friends will take place in Butte in the near future. Information about both events will be posted at bobmunden.com and the official fan page. www.Facebook.com/BobMundenFanPage

His amazing shots will live forever in video, but the shooting sports are diminished by the loss.

--Jim Shepherd