U.S. Seventh Circuit - The FindLaw 7th Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries Blog

Illinois Supreme Court Lifts State Ban on Guns Near Parks

In a unanimous ruling, the Illinois State Supreme Court has found that a state law banning firearms within 1,000 feet of a park violates the Second Amendment. The ruling rested upon the concept that Second Amendment rights cannot simply be categorically restricted unless there are very good reasons.

The law that came under question didn't just ban firearms from within 1,000 feet of a park, but also schools, courthouses, public transit facilities, and public housing. However, due to how restrictive the law made it to carry a gun near a park, the ruling only impacted that portion of the law.

Effectively a Ban

The state's High Court noted that the parks ban effectively was a blanket ban across much of the city of Chicago, which has more than 600 parks. A really big issue with the law was notifying individuals when they were violating the law, as there was no signage to advise the public of where the 1000 foot perimeter started or ended.

The court ruled that the law would require an extremely strong public interest in order to withstand a constitutional challenge. The court also ruled that state did not have solid evidence to support a 1000 foot perimeter as to public parks, and the court found the state's support to be speculative, which can't be the basis of "an extremely strong public interest."

Ripe for a Higher Appeal

This matter could very well be appealed to SCOTUS, but gun control supporters will likely want to consider the potential dangers of a loss at SCOTUS. Recently, the District of Colombia decided to not pursue an appeal regarding their controversial handgun ban for this very reason.

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