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Illinois Court Overturns Law for Weapon Possession Near Schools

Illinois Court Overturns Law for Weapon Possession Near SchoolsIn the February case of People v. Chairez, the Illinois Supreme Court ruled that a state law banning the possession of a weapon within 1,000 feet of a public park was unconstitutional. Parks were part of a list of public places that have such a ban, and the supreme court stated that its decision did not affect the other properties on the list. However, criminal defense professionals predicted that the decision could be used as a guideline for similar weapon possession cases involving the other protected properties. It did not take long for this to occur, as an Illinois appellate court recently ruled that the 1,000-foot weapon ban outside a school is also unconstitutional.

Case Details

In People v. Green, a high school teacher observed a man in a security uniform who was allegedly wearing a holstered gun and standing outside a van across the street from the school. An assistant principal walked across the street to ask the man who he was and express his safety concerns. The man identified himself as a security guard. The teacher called the police, reporting that there was a man with a gun near the school. When the police officer arrived, the man was seated in his vehicle, and his holster was empty. However, the officer found the gun and ammunition after searching the vehicle. The man was charged and later convicted of two counts of unlawful use of a weapon for possessing a loaded weapon on a public street and within a vehicle. Because the incident happened within 1,000 feet of a school, the conviction was a class 3 felony, and the man was sentenced to one year of probation.

Appeal

The defendant appealed the decision, and the appellate court chose to wait until the Illinois Supreme Court decided on People v. Chairez because of the similarity between the cases. As with the supreme court case, the appellate court determined that the 1,000-foot weapon ban around a school is unconstitutional because:

  • It unnecessarily infringes upon the right to carry a weapon protected by the second amendment to the U.S. Constitution;
  • The 1,000-foot radius seems arbitrary; and
  • There is no data showing how the ban radius around the school increases safety.

The court acknowledged that there is a pressing concern about gun violence at schools and that no one was arguing against the constitutionality of weapons bans within schools. It asked that Illinois legislators use evidence-based studies when creating laws to restrict weapon possession outside schools.

Weapons Charges

Weapon possession charges can occur after a routine traffic stop or be used to aggravate other criminal charges. A DuPage County criminal defense attorney with Stephen A. Brundage, Attorney at Law, can protect you against weapons charges that infringe upon your rights. To schedule a consultation, call 630-260-9647.

Source:

http://www.illinoiscourts.gov/Opinions/AppellateCourt/2018/1stDistrict/1143874.pdf

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