The US Supreme Court has ruled that the provision of the Illinois Criminal Code that makes it a felony for a properly registered gun owner to possess a firearm on Illinois public land is unconstitutional and violates the Second Amendment to the United State’s Constitution its ruling in People of Illinois v. Alberto Aguilar, 2013 IL 112116, filed September 13, 2013.  In handing down the decision, the Supreme Court has effectively nullified an Illinois state law, making it a class four felony for a person with a valid FOID card to posses a loaded and uncased firearm on land other than their own immediately on their person or accessible in their vehicle.

In its ruling, the Supreme Court basically extended the recent rulings in District of Columbia v. Heller (2008) and McDonald v. City of Chicago (2010) to extend the right of persons to bear arms outside their own home for the purpose of self-defense to include public property and vehicles.  In so ruling, the Court recognized a distinction in the Second Amendment between “keeping” arms in the home and “bearing” arms in public for self-defense.  However, the Court did also expressly recognize the rights of states to impose reasonable regulation on the possession of firearms outside the home.

The immediate effect of this ruling will be that the specific section of the Illinois Criminal Code, 720 ILCS, Section 24-1.6(a)(1), (a)(3)(a), will be found unconstitutional in its entirety as a blanket ban on possession of firearms by individuals in public.  This means that the law will be considered void ab initio, or void from its inception.  Individuals who will benefit most from this ruling are individuals who have a valid FOID card and were charged with carrying, on or about their person or vehicle, an uncased, loaded and immediately accessible firearm.  Those individuals have the basis to move for the Illinois State Court to immediately dismiss that specific charge against them.  The long term effects as the Legislature works to redraft the Illinois gun statutes are far less certain and shall become more clear over time.

If you have been charged with possessing a firearm, Attorney J. Samuel Worley can help you.  Feel free to contact our office for a free consultation today.