Illinois Gun-Carry Ban Challenged in Court


In another case that should be of great importance in shaping the post-Heller and McDonald landscape of permissible regulation of Second Amendment rights, the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) (which fought and won McDonald v. Chicago, the 2010 Supreme Court case that established that the Second Amendment applied to state and local governments as well as the federal one) is suing to challenge Illinois' statewide ban on carrying weapons in public.

From the SAF press release:

The lawsuit alleges that Illinois statutes that completely ban the carrying of handguns for self-defense are "inconsistent with the Second Amendment." Joining SAF are two private citizens, Michael Moore of Champaign and Charles Hooks of Percy. Named as defendants are Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan and State Police Superintendent Patrick Keen. SAF is represented by attorneys David Jensen and David Sigale. The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois.

"Illinois is currently the only state in the country that imposes a complete prohibition on the carrying of firearms for personal protection by its citizens," said SAF Executive Vice President Alan Gottlieb. "The state legislature recently stopped, by a thin margin, a concealed carry measure. After the 2008 Heller ruling and last year's McDonald ruling against the City of Chicago that incorporated the Second Amendment to the states, one would think that Illinois lawmakers would act quickly to comply with court decisions and the constitution."….

The lawsuit insists this case is not an attempt to force Illinois into some regulatory scheme, but only to clarify that the state's current regulatory ban on firearms carry is impermissible under the Second Amendment.

"Every other state has some kind of regulatory scenario," Gottlieb noted. "Even in Wisconsin, where there is no concealed carry statute, the state attorney general has recognized that open carry is legal. Only Illinois makes it statutorily impossible for average private citizens to carry firearms for self-defense.

The case is called Moore v. Madigan. SAF's complaint as filed with the District Court here. The legal root of the complaint:

This action for deprivation of civil rights under color of law challenges Illinois' statutory prohibitions on "Unlawful Use of Weapons" (720 ILCS 5/24-1) and  "Aggravated  Unlawful Use of Weapons" (720 ILCS 5/24-1.6) to the extent that they prohibit otherwise qualified private citizens from carrying handguns for the purpose of self-defense.  Plaintiffs seek  a declaratory judgment, injunctive relief, and attorney's fees and costs.

I've been chronicling the shifts in Second Amendment law here at Reason for a while. My December 2008 feature article on Heller; my October 2010 feature article on McDonald.