This came out last week, but I wanted to wait and think about it before I began to bloviate about it.
The Illinois Supreme Court, in People v. Aguilar, 2013 IL 112116, ___ N.E.2d ___ (Ill. Sept. 12, 2013), ruled that the former version of the Aggravated Unlawful Use of a Weapon (AUUW), 720 ILCS 5/24-1.6, violated the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
Alberto Aguilar, then 17 years old, was arrested in the Little Village neighborhood of Chicago for AUUW and for Unlawful Possession of a Weapon (UPW), 720 ILCS 5/24-3.1. Aguilar was convicted in a bench trial and sentenced to two years of probation. He appealed and the appellate court affirmed the conviction. He then took the case to the Illinois Supreme Court.
As noted, the Court held that AUUW was unconstitutional at the time of the arrest, as it prohibited all carry of a firearm outside of the home. This is not surprising, given that the U.S. Seventh Circuit had made the same ruling in Moore v. Madigan, 702 F.3d 933 (7th Cir. 2012). The Moore decision led to Illinois passing a concealed carry statute earlier this year, although it has not yet really taken effect yet (as no permits have been issued). The Illinois Supreme Court noted that they were ruling on the former law, not the current law. This means that the ruling will have a limited effect.
Of course, the gun rights people (at least those that are not lawyers) have put their own spin on this and I’m sure it won’t be long until some idiot decides that this means he can carry whenever and however he wants.
Some people will be getting their charges dropped, sure. The AUUW statute barred all carry until it was amended July 9, 2013, so people who were charged before that date have a pretty clear-cut road to the charges being dismissed. The problem arises with the skewed interpretation that some of the gun rights people are putting on this. They believe that since the old AUUW law was unconstitutional, then it was void (technically correct) and any amendment to the law was pointless (totally incorrect).
When the AUUW law was amended, it cured the problems brought up by both the Seventh Circuit and the Illinois Supreme Court. The AUUW law was unconstitutional because it had no provision for “bearing” arms outside of the home. As of July 9th, it has that provision. Ergo, it will be presumed to be a valid law again.
Someone is going to carry and become a new test case–and I wouldn’t want to be that guy, because he’ll lose.
- Illinois Supreme Court Strikes (Old) Ban on Aggravated Use of Weapons (lawprofessors.typepad.com)
- BREAKING: Illinois Supreme Court Rules Right to Keep and Bear Arms Extends Outside the Home (thetruthaboutguns.com)
- Illinois Supreme Court Strikes Down State’s Gun Law (breitbart.com)
- Illinois Supreme Court Declares State’s Ban on Carrying Firearms Unconstitutional (nraila.org)