U.S.A. –-(Ammoland.com)- The Illinois Supreme Court struck a blow against the gun grabbers in the Illinois government by voting unanimously against a provision in a law that tried to ban guns from being legally carried near public parks.
The provision in the law that deals with parks would have prevented law-abiding citizens from being able to legally carry their firearms within 1000 feet of a public park. But, with laws already on the books that prevent people from legally being armed within 1000 feet of schools, courthouses, public housing, and transportation facilities it makes it hard to carry a firearm in cities like Chicago and even harder in smaller towns. Further legislation would have limited the freedom of movement of citizens around the state severely.
Liberal politicians in Illinois pulled out the old trick of claiming that this provision in the law was about the children. They went as far as trying to pull at the heart string of the judges by referencing teenager Hadiya Pendleton, who performed at Obama's second inauguration. Pendleton was killed by eighteen-year-old Michael Ward, who was on probation and was not legally allowed to carry a gun. Ward mistook Pendleton for revival gang member.
Another case cited as the reason for this law was the death of Tyshawn Lee. Lee was playing basketball in the park when gang members approached him. Lee left with the gang member and the gang killed him in an alley close to the park. Again, these were criminals who did not have a concealed handgun permit and were also prohibited from owning guns by federal law.
Julio Chairez brought the case to the courts. Chairez pleaded guilty to carrying a firearm within 1000 feet of a park in Aurora, Illinois. The Kane County Circuit Court sentenced him to two years of probation. Other than this conviction Chairez did not have a criminal record.
“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,” Chairez's Chairez’s court-appointed attorney, Erin Johnson, argued in court.
Johnson gave an example that if a person was driving in their car by a park with a gun in their glove box that they would be in violation of the law transforming a law-abiding citizen into a criminal. She further insisted in her oral argument that it would place an undue burden on the citizens of Illinois when traveling because along with the other provisions it excludes vast areas within the state.
Johnson also argued that since so much of Illinois would be off-limits to citizens that it violated the Second Amendment. Assistant Attorney General Garson Fischer disputed this charge. He told the court that, “this is not a comprehensive ban on carrying a weapon,” and insisted that municipalities have been using provisions like these for hundreds of years. The Judges seemed unmoved.
The Illinois Supreme Court struck down the provision because the state did not prove how this act would protect children.
Supreme Court Chief Lloyd A. Karmeier wrote in the decision that, “Without specific data or other meaningful evidence, we see no direct correlation between the information the State provides and its assertion that a 1000-foot firearm ban around a public park protects children, as well as other vulnerable persons, from firearm violence.”
The Supreme Court Justice went even further stating, “Innocent behavior could swiftly be transformed into culpable conduct if an individual unknowingly crosses into a firearm restriction zone. The result could create a chilling effect on the second amendment when an otherwise law-abiding individual may inadvertently violate the 1000-foot firearm-restricted zones by just turning a street corner.”
The Cook County State’s Attorney's Office did not return the request for comment at the time of this writing.
About John Crump
John is a NRA instructor and a constitutional activist. He is the former CEO of Veritas Firearms, LLC and is the co-host of The Patriot News Podcast which can be found at www.blogtalkradio.com/patriotnews. John has written extensively on the patriot movement including 3%'ers, Oath Keepers, and Militias. In addition to the Patriot movement, John has written about firearms, interviewed people of all walks of life, and on the Constitution. John lives in Northern Virginia with his wife and sons and is currently working on a book on the history of the patriot movement and can be followed on Twitter at @crumpyss or at www.crumpy.com.