“The Illinois Supreme Court took another bite out of the state’s gun laws on Thursday, ruling that a provision barring firearms near public parks is unconstitutional.” That’s not how I’d characterize the Court’s decision — striking down an impractical and unconstitutional law — but you know, chicagotribune.com. Whose discomfort is more than a little obvious . . .
The high court’s unanimous ruling builds on a series of cases it has decided since 2013, when it struck down a portion of the state’s felony gun law that calls for serious penalties for anyone caught toting a loaded gun outside their home.
The justices ruled that section of the state law violated the Second Amendment right to publicly carry loaded firearms. In a separate ruling two years later, justices further clawed back the law — this time setting aside restrictions to carrying loaded guns on the streets, sidewalks and other “public ways.”
“Clawed back” a civil right I’d say. But what do I know — other than the plain language of the Second Amendment and the fact that the Supreme Court’s McDonald decision officially incorporated the right to keep and bear arms (it trumps local and state laws).
Even with the 1,000-foot ban near parks — which legislators added to existing state law in 1993 — some of the city’s most notorious gun violence has rained down on public parks.
Hadiya Pendleton was fatally shot while taking shelter from the rain at Harsh Park five years ago. Tyshawn Lee had been playing basketball in Dawes Park when he was allegedly lured into an alley and killed by gang members in 2015, prosecutors have said. And 13 people — including a 3-year-old boy — were shot by gunmen firing semiautomatic weapons at Cornell Square Park in 2013.
Illinois has worked hard to be a gun-control state, only to have the courts chip away at that. Indeed, Illinois was the last state in the union to pass a concealed-carry law – and only because a federal appeals court forced the state’s hand.
Typical bloody flag waving anti-gun agitprop, overlayed with a huge portion of grumbling and grousing. Schadenfreude Friday!
Not-so-strangely enough, the Trib waits to paragraph eight before reporting the case details and what the Court actually ruled.
Thursday’s decision, written by Chief Justice Lloyd Karmeier, arose from the 2013 conviction of Julio Chairez, who pleaded guilty to possessing a gun within 1,000 feet of a park in west suburban Aurora. He was sentenced in Kane County Circuit Court to two years’ probation.
Chairez’s attorney on appeal said the law was unconstitutional because of the burden it placed on law-abiding citizens exercising their right to carry a gun.
A law-abiding person could be driving with a gun in their glove box past a park and not realize it, unfairly setting them up to violate the law, Chairez’s attorney, Erin Johnson, of the state appellate defender’s office, said during oral arguments last fall.
“We’re saying its unconstitutional everywhere because no one in Illinois would be able to travel throughout the state without entering these zones which are not narrowly tailored to serve a compelling government interest,” she argued at the time.
Attorneys for the state argued that the 1,000-foot ban — and others like it — go back centuries and fall outside the protections of the Second Amendment.
Assistant Attorney General Garson Fischer emphasized law-abiding citizens could still exercise their right to bear arms.
“This is not a comprehensive ban on carrying a weapon,” Assistant Attorney General Garson Fischer said. Just stay away from parks, he argued.
The justices were not persuaded.
Every now and then the system works. When the Supreme Court finally and formally reaffirms the Constitutional right to bear arms, striking down ALL the carry laws infringing on Americans’ gun rights, that’ll go double. Triple? To infinity, and beyond!