Illinois is one of the most and-gun states in America. The voters typically elect inveterate foes of the Second Amendment such Senator Dick Durbin and President Barack Obama. Yet the Supreme Court elected by those same voters just struck down Illinois’ soon-to-expire law against carrying firearms as a violation of the U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment.
In Illinois v. Aguilar, the Illinois Supreme Court considered the case of Alberto Aguilar, who was engaged in criminal conduct when he was arrested, and also had a firearm on him in violation of Illinois law. He was convicted of carrying a firearm when he was not in his own home or business.
The court noted the U.S. Supreme Court’s decisions in D.C. v. Heller and McDonald v. Chicago, striking down the virtually-absolute ban on owning a gun in Washington, D.C. in 2008 and Chicago in 2010, respectively. Both cases involved law-abiding citizens who wanted to have firearms in their home, and the Supreme Court held that the Second Amendment guarantees their right to do so. The Illinois court also noted that in 2012 the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit held in Moore v. Madigan that the Second Amendment right recognized by the Supreme Court extends beyond the home to carry firearms in public, and that Illinois then-current statutes to the contrary were unconstitutional.
Based on these authorities, the Illinois court agreed that the current state law is unconstitutional, though adding that gun ownership is “subject to meaningful regulation.” The Illinois legislature recently passed a law allowing people to carry firearms subject to very serious restrictions. The Illinois Supreme Court mentioned in a footnote that Aguilar does not invalidate the new law, which does not go into effect until next year and is not at issue in this litigation.
But this decision is a significant victory for supporters of the right to keep and bear arms. No word yet on whether Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan–a staunchly anti-gun Democrat–will petition the U.S. Supreme Court to take this case and reinstate Alberto Aguilar’s criminal conviction.
(Editor’s note: An earlier version of the story said that state Supreme Court justices are appointed by the governor. We at Breitbart News regret the error, which has now been corrected.)
Breitbart News legal columnist Ken Klukowski is on faculty at Liberty University School of Law. Follow him on Twitter @kenklukowski.