Illinois supreme court strikes down gun ban

The Illinois Supreme Court overturned (link is external) a state law banning the carrying of a firearm within 1000 feet of a public park. The court argued the 1000 foot ban essentially made it illegal for gun owners to carry their properly licensed firearms inside the city of Chicago, and for that matter, wide sections of the entire state:

The State claims that the restriction is not overly burdensome because there are areas throughout Illinois where one could exercise their core second amendment right…. Indeed an individual can preserve an undiminished right of self-defense by not entering one of the restricted areas. But the State conceded at oral argument that the 1000-foot firearm restriction zone around a public park would effectively prohibit the possession of a firearm for self-defense within a vast majority of the acreage in the city of Chicago because there are more than 600 parks in the city. Aside from the sheer number of locations and public areas that would qualify under the law, not only in the City of Chicago, but throughout Illinois, the most troubling aspect is the lack of any notification where the 1000-foot restriction zone starts and where it would end.

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. Likewise, in response to a question at oral argument, the State conceded that an individual who lives within 1000 feet of a public park would violate [the law] every time that individual possessed a firearm for self-defense and walked to his or her vehicle parked on a public street.

But surely, the state argued, the law isn’t burdensome because gun owners can take simple steps to make their firearms secure to comply with the ban. The court was having none of that:

To remain in compliance with the law, the State said that the individual would need to disassemble his or her firearm and place it in a case before entering the restricted zone. This requirement, however, renders the ability to defend oneself inoperable and is in direct contradiction to this court’s decisions in Aguilar, which recognized that the right to carry firearms for self-defense may be especially important when traveling outside of the home, and perhaps even more important than while at home. Moreover, the State’s proposition conflicts with Heller’s decision that struck down the requirement that firearms be kept “unloaded and disassembled or bound by a trigger lock” because it “makes it impossible for citizens to use them for the core lawful purpose of self-defense.”

In a city like Chicago, which remains in the grip of a crime wave, disarming and making criminals out of the law abiding makes no sense. Then again, gun restrictionists rarely craft laws rooted in sense. Rather, they are intended to punish those who exercise their Second Amendment rights, even as the world around those individuals becomes increasingly dangerous.