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Illinois Supreme Court Overturns Law on Weapons Possession Near Public Parks

Posted on in Criminal Law

Illinois Supreme Court Overturns Law on Weapons Possession Near Public ParksIn the interest of public safety, Illinois restricts the areas in which people are allowed to carry weapons. Police may arrest a person who caught in possession of a weapon within 1,000 feet of a:

  • School;
  • Public park;
  • Courthouse;
  • Public transportation facility; or
  • Public housing complex.

It is a class 3 felony to carry a firearm near any of these locations unless the firearm is dismantled or unloaded and in a case. Allowing laws such as this must be weighed against a person’s constitutional right to carry a weapon for self-defense. The Illinois Supreme Court recently ruled that the weapons ban for 1,000 feet around a public park is unconstitutional.

Recent Case

In the case of People v. Chariez, the defendant had pleaded guilty to possession of a firearm within 1,000 feet of a public park and was sentenced to two years probation. The defendant later sought to vacate his conviction, claiming that the law violated the second amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The circuit court agreed with the defendant, and the state’s appeal automatically went to the Illinois Supreme Court. The supreme court concurred that the law is unconstitutional, though it limited the breadth of its decision to public parks and not other venues.

Reasoning

The Illinois Supreme Court stated that the 1,000-foot extension of the firearms ban around public parks puts too great of a burden on lawful firearms owners without showing how the law protects the public. Lawful carriers may inadvertently break the law while passing through the restricted radius. A firearms owner who lives within 1,000 feet of a public park would be breaking the law once he or she stepped onto a public street. Though the owner could dismantle the weapon, it would defeat the weapon’s purpose of self-defense. Finally, the supreme court said that the state does not provide clear evidence of how adding 1,000 feet to the weapons ban area increases public safety in the parks.

Broader Implications

The Illinois Supreme Court was deliberate in explaining that the case only allowed it to rule on the constitutionality of the unlawful use of weapons law in relation to public parks. However, the decision sets a precedent that defendants may be able to apply to other public properties. A McHenry County criminal defense attorney at Botto Gilbert Lancaster, PC, can help you protect your second amendment right to self-defense. To schedule a free consultation, call 815-338-3838.

Source:

http://www.illinoiscourts.gov/Opinions/SupremeCourt/2018/121417.pdf

Illinois State Bar Association State Bar of Wisconsin Crystal Lake Chamber of Commerce Illinois Trial Lawyers Association McHenry County Bar Association
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