Illinois residents cannot be barred from carrying a firearm within 1000 feet of a public park or school, although it is still illegal to carry a gun within a public park.
In People v Chairez, the court held that while the rest of the Illinois Unlawful Use of Weapons law remains constitutional, the section barring weapons within 1000 feet of a park did not pass muster. The court said the ends of protecting the public did not justify the means of banning the guns. Instead, the statue could punish potentially innocent conduct if a defendant unknowingly crossed into a prohibited zone near a park. Most troublesome was the lack of notice as to where the 1000-foot limit began or ended.
Following the above decision, the Appellate Court in People v. Green, struck down sections of the gun law barring possession of a firearm within 1000 feet of a school. In Green, a security guard with a valid FOID card was convicted of unlawful use of a weapon because he was standing with a loaded, accessible firearm across the street from a high school. The court said the state failed to show that limiting guns within 1,000 feet of a school mitigated violence. Again, a lack of notice as to where the 1,000 feet began and ended was problematic.
It is still illegal, however, to carry a gun inside a public park. In People v. Bell, the court said that a public park may be considered a sensitive place, warranting reasonable measures to protect the public especially since large numbers of people, including children, congregate there for recreation.
If you have been charged with a crime, contact an experienced criminal law attorney immediately. An attorney can review your case for its best possible defense. Perhaps the police lacked probable cause to stop you or perhaps the evidence against you was improperly seized. Even if the police acted legally and the evidence against you is overwhelming, an attorney who is respected in the court house may be able to negotiate a more favorable plea agreement than you could on your own.
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