Illinois Supreme Court Strikes Down Park Perimeter Gun Ban

Statue outside the Illinois Supreme Court (courtesy

“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, 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!


  1. The 2nd amendment still not law in N.Y.

  2. avatar GS650G says:

    Those damn firearms. Always going off by themselves around parks.

  3. avatar binder says:

    Now we just need to work on the federal law

    Gun-Free School Zones Act of 1990

    he term “school zone” means—

    (A) in, or on the grounds of, a public, parochial or private school; or

    (B) within a distance of 1,000 feet from the grounds of a public, parochial or private school.

    1. avatar Vic Nighthorse says:

      Here in Eagan MN, the little park across from my town house is labeled a “save zone” and illegal drugs and dangerous weapons are prohibited within 300ft. My front door is about 70ft from it.

  4. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

    ‘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 g un violence has rained down on public parks.’

    Interesting the way the retards at the Tribune detail how impotent the law was at stopping ‘gunviolence’ in parks then lament the ‘chipping away’ of the states g un control.

    1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

      Thus, gun grabbers have clearly established that their law fails to accomplish its stated goal and thus fails their own standard where such laws must be “narrowly tailored to support a compelling government interest” — not that I agree with that rationale to nullify unalienable rights.

      I am glad to see that someone else picked up on that.

      1. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

        It’s a kind of masturbatory logic, a self affirming confirmation bias, that hinges on the belief that you’re right no matter what contrary evidence slaps you in the face. Kind of like the way global warming alarmist use any and all weather as evidence that their right. Heat wave? Global warming. Blizzard? Global warming. Normal weather? Global warming. No matter what, you’re right. If it wasn’t for the ban on g uns in parks, the murder rate in parks would be 10 times higher. No matter how many times ‘gunviolence’ occurs, it would always be way worse if it weren’t for their laws.

  5. avatar Joemoma says:

    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.

    That is the most stupid argument I have ever heard did this guy get his degree from a correspondence course?

    1. avatar pieslapper says:

      Lies. Damn lies. And a lib lawyer trying to defend the indefensible.

    2. avatar Curtis in IL says:

      The Attorney General’s job is to represent the state (that convicted Mr. Chairez) and defend the law.

      Sometimes he doesn’t have much to go on, but he still has to do his job.

      1. avatar Jonathan-Houston says:

        Government lawyers, federal and state, decline to defend laws all the time. DOMA, for example, while it was in effect. So “just doing my job” is no excuse to pursue this case.

        Now, maybe states shouldn’t pick and choose what laws they’ll defend. Equal protection and so forth. Fair enough. States generally have a definition of a prosecutor’s role and responsibilities. In Illinois, for example, the state’s attorney has a duty to defend the state constitution. The Illinois constitition says RKBA shall not be infringed.

        In addition, Rule 3.1 of the American Bar Association’s Model Rules of Professional Conduct, which Illinois has adopted, says that a lawyer shall not bring or defend a proceeding or assert or controvert an issue unless there’s a basis in law and fact. They don’t want you wasting resources on frivolous cases.

        If there is no reasonable likelihood of success, then state prosecutors have an ethical responsibility not to defend the statute because such a defense would be frivolous.

        She defended this, while hiding behind a phony duty exactly the opposite of her real duty, just so they can screw with people that much longer. It’s unconscionable.

        1. avatar TX_Lawyer says:

          Given the actual decisions of actual appellate judges that have the actual force of law, the state’s argument was not a stupid or frivolous argument to make.

          It was wrong, and the court’s decision, as reported, is right, but that doesn’t make the argument frivolous.

    3. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

      That or he’s a closet 2A supporter.

  6. avatar j_cobbers says:

    I’d say “clawing back” is the right phrase, just that the ILSC was clawing back the constitutional rights of citizens of IL from an over reaching law!

  7. avatar former water walker says:

    Oh goody! Or why the Chicagoaway Trib is just a rag to wrap s##t in. The colonel must roll over in his grave daily😩😖😟

  8. avatar Tom in Oregon says:


  9. avatar JK says:

    I don’t understand this paragraph AT ALL.

    “‘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,”

    The first paragraph in the Court’s decision phrased the issue as follows:

    “At issue in this appeal is the constitutionality of section 24-1(a)(4), (c)(1.5) of the unlawful use of a weapon (UUW) statute (720 ILCS 5/24-1(a)(4), (c)(1.5) (West 2012)), which, in pertinent part, prohibits an individual from carrying or possessing a firearm within 1000 feet of a public park.”

    At paragraph 66, the Court concludes:

    “Accordingly, we hold that possessing a firearm within 1000 feet of a public park in violation of section 24-1(a)(4), (c)(1.5) of the UUW statute is facially unconstitutional.”

    Maybe I’m simply not understanding your first paragraph, but it appears to me that the Chicago Tribune got it right. The fact that the Court declared the statute facially unconstitutional is actually great news. A finding that the statute was “impractical” due to either vagueness or ambiguity would open the doors for the legislature to simply rephrase the statute. The Court basically slammed that door closed, which is a huge victory for Illinois citizens who value their civil right to carry a firearm for self defense.

    How about actually reading and quoting the decision rather than taking the easy way out by quoting and attacking how another journalist characterized the decision? When we get a victory, TTAG should embrace it. You might even be the one that gets quoted and linked-to if you take the higher ground. No one is going to link to this story, which is cumbersome to read and devoid of any real thought or analysis.

    For anyone interested, the decision is Illinois v. Chairez, 2018 IL 121417. The full opinion is available at

    1. avatar Curtis in IL says:

      “The Illinois Supreme Court took another bite out of the state’s gun laws…”

      Taking the article in its entirety, it’s clear that the reporter was clutching his pearls knowing that the gun laws in Illinois, which, you know, are absolutely necessary to keep us all safe, are being struck down by the Illinois Supreme Court. Without these vital gun laws, there will be blood in the streets!

      So I agree with Farago. That’s not how I’d characterize the Court’s decision. The article should have begun with, “The Illinois Supreme Court struck down another unconstitutional infringement on our civil rights.”

  10. avatar Tim says:

    A once-great state, now broke, run into he ground by broke, selfish a$$hole demo-rats. Now they want to raise taxes. Unbelievable.

    Flee while there’s still time.

    1. avatar Calvin says:

      There were quite a few Republicans mixed in there. Some even spent time in jail thanks to their “contributions”.

      Your position comes from tribalism, not principles.

      1. avatar Tim says:

        Negative. Democrat controlled legislature for 50+ years, just like Michigan & California.

  11. avatar Steve S. says:

    I call BS: “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.” I seriously doubt there were any 1,000-foot bans in before the year 1818.

    Moreover, I would think Mens Rea would take over considering that there is no way of knowing that you are within 1000 feet of a park, school, courthouse three blocks off the street you are driving on through a town.

    1. avatar Southern Cross says:

      Unless there are signs and marked areas, such as painted grids on the sidewalks, how are you going to know where these 1000′ zones are?

      And I’ll bet if you plotted these zones on a map you’ll find these overlapping zones will cover most urban areas.

      1. avatar Scoutino says:

        That’s a feature, not a bug! The law’s purpose was to make carrying if not impossible, than at least so much of a headache that people would just give it up.

  12. avatar Frmr Dave says:

    Hells bells, folks. The answer to this is low hanging fruit.
    Make it no longer ILLEGAL to carry your gun IN the friggin’ park in the 1st place.

  13. avatar GS650G says:

    Illinois once again proves to be a good place to stay out of

  14. avatar Hannibal says:

    “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…”

    Um, that’s not how constitutions work.

    Slavery also goes back centuries.

    1. avatar TX_Lawyer says:

      That argument comes directly from the Heller opinion. That is how constitutional law works. Maybe it shouldn’t, but the way the world should be and the way the world is have never been the same thing.

  15. avatar ed says:

    My entire property is within 1,000 feet of a public park in Illinois. I’ve been living as a felon for more than 20 years lol!

  16. avatar Aaron says:

    the prohibition on exercising the 2A in or near parks, schools, etc. is always and everywhere but a scam to allow selective prosecutio on the poor serfs that the system wants to nail but cannot find any other reason to prosecute.

    first of all, the majority of murderers who use a gun as the murder weapon are already prohibited from owning guns due to pre-existing convictions, or possessing the gun while in the course of committing of a crime or in possession of narcotics. So the bans are redundant to other laws.

    Second, they simply don’t work. In Chicago, murder is primarily a black cultural problem; the city’s overall murder rate is not extraordinarily high, but if you just count South Chicago it is absolutely third world. And from what i’ve read, South Chicago has a lot of “gun free” zones designated by the city, such as sidewalks used by public school kids to walk to school and home. It ain’t working.

    1. avatar binder says:

      Actual, from what I gather safe passage actual is working, but it helps to have a physical presence to enforce the policy. But the map kind of illustrates the issues.

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