The Illinois Supreme Court, citing federal gun rights cases won by the Bellevue-based Second Amendment Foundation, today ruled unanimously that a section of state gun law violated the constitutional right to keep and bear arms, and affirmed that this right extends outside the home.
Word of the victory raced across the Internet, courtesy The Gun Wire and a handful of gun rights bloggers who picked up on the story, including Eugene Volokh, proprietor at The Volokh Conspiracy website. The decision may be read here.
The ruling constitutes another victory for gun rights in a state that was, until the ruling by the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in SAF’s Moore v. Madigan case, the last holdout on concealed carry. The federal court had given Illinois lawmakers 180 days to fix it, and many were dragged kicking and screaming into adopting carry statute earlier this summer that, despite its restrictions, is a “good first step,” noted SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan Gottlieb at the time.
There are significant statements in the Illinois court’s 11-page ruling, written by Justice Robert R. Thomas. He refers both to the Moore case and also McDonald v. City of Chicago, the 2010 case in which the U.S. Supreme Court incorporated the Second Amendment to the states via the 14th Amendment.
“As the Seventh Circuit correctly noted, neither Heller nor McDonald expressly limits the Second Amendment’s protections to the home,” Thomas wrote for the court. “On the contrary, both decisions contain language strongly suggesting if not outright confirming that the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms extends beyond the home.”
The case of Illinois v. Alberto Aguilar challenged a section of the law that prohibited carrying firearms outside the home that, according to the court, “…amounts to a wholesale statutory ban on the exercise of a personal right that is specifically named in and guaranteed by the United States Constitution, as construed by the United States Supreme Court. In no other context would we permit this, and we will not permit it here either.”
“Here we have a state Supreme Court declaring a section of state law unconstitutional under the Second Amendment,” Gottlieb said in a Thursday press release. “That would not have happened without our victories in McDonald and Moore, and it affirms our effort to win back firearms freedoms one lawsuit at a time.”