What’s The Illinois State Rifle Association Done For Me

What’s The Illinois State Rifle Association Done For Me This Week?

Illinois State Rifle Association
Illinois State Rifle Association

Illinois –-(AmmoLand.com)-On 8 October 2009, the Illinois Supreme Court issued a unanimous opinion on the People v. Diggins case.

Because this matter concerned an interpretation of how a firearm can be transported legally within Illinois, the ISRA felt it was important that certain points be brought before the court in order to clarify the legislatures’ intent at the time the law was debated.

With the ISRA’s knowledge of the legislative history pertaining to this part of the Criminal Code, ISRA’s attorney, Victor D. Quilici filed an Amicus Brief, (friend of the court), with the above purpose in mind.

The ISRA is pleased with the Court’s decision which we feel is in line with the legislature’s original intent.

Thanks especially go out to Tiffany Ritchie Esq. of the Schrier & Ritchie law firm in Peoria, Illinois who handled the case and its arguments including the oral argument before the Supreme Court. Tiffany did a spectacular job in her briefs and arguments and we were very happy to be associated in her case.

For a more technical analysis of the decision, please see below.

Commentary about the IL Supreme Court Decision People v. Diggins
from ISRA Attorney Victor Quilici

In a unanimous opinion by the Illinois Supreme Court in People v. Diggins No. 106367, the Court has held: “Section 24-1.6{c}{iii} of the Criminal Code of 1961 provides that a person is not guilty of aggravated unlawful use of a weapon if that weapon is “unloaded and enclosed in a case, firearm carrying box, shipping box, or other container by a person who has been issued a currently valid Firearm Owner’s Identification Card.’ 720 ILCS 5/24-1.6{c}{iii} (West 2006).

In the case at bar, we are asked to determine whether the center console of a vehicle is a ‘case’ within the meaning of this provision. . .[W]e conclude that it is.” An Amicus Brief (Friend of the Court) was filed by ISRA attorney Victor D. Quilici. The principal object of the brief was to thwart the argument by the State regarding legislative intent. Other arguments in the amicus brief addressed matters pertaining to the split decisions in the various districts in Illinois.

Also, ISRA’ amicus agreed with the Appellate Court’s opinion that the plain meaning of the Statute did not mean a “case” or “other container” had to be portable, as a leading case relied on by the State had held.

The Supreme Court has clearly held that the center console in a motor vehicle is a “case” within the meaning of section 24-1.6(c)(iii). That section contains the exemption language regarding transportation of firearms. The Supreme Court found that the term “case” in the cited statutory section includes any portable or non-portable receptacle and need not be interpreted solely to firearms.

Thus, the Supreme Court also rejected the State’s contention that the meaning of the language was to be interpreted in light of the Wildlife code definition of “case” which would limit it to a “firearm case” that is portable. The Court made it clear that it did not need to rely on legislative intent and that the answer was in the plain meaning of the statute. The Court ordered the case to be remanded –that is, in this case sending it back to retry on factual matter. The Supreme Court is asking that a new trial be held to determine the question of whether or not the center console was “enclosed” and by that the Court is sayings the center console must be closed.

The Supreme Court points out that in the initial trial of the case, the Defendant, Diggins, and his passenger alleged that the center console was “closed “(actually testifying it was also locked) and the police officer testified that the console was “ajar.” Therefore, that issue of whether or not the center console was closed still would be viable and one to be tried by the jury upon remand of the case for further proceedings.

Regardless of the outcome of the case upon re-trial, the decision of the Supreme Court that a center console is a “case” within the meaning of the statute’s exemption language is clear and unequivocal ISRA counsel notes that the major credit should go to Tiffany Ritchie of the Schrier & Ritchie law firm in Peoria, Illinois, that handled the case in the trial court on up, especially attorney Tiffany Ritchie, who delivered a great argument before the Supreme Court.

Special Note from the ISRA:

This analysis of this court case, People v Diggins, is not to be construed as legal advice. Please consult with your own attorney for such advice.

The mission of the Illinois State Rifle Association has not changed – only the challenges have become more taxing. One of the greater challenges, on the foreign front especially, is the way our enemies go about attacking us. The most troubling though are our domestic adversaries – they want to disarm the civilians of Illinois and to prevent us from shooting, hunting, collecting, or even owning a firearm.

The ISRA stands at the threshold of our second century, we are continuing to promote marksmanship and gun safety, but our role is widening beyond our Founders’ wildest dreams.