Gun owners won big with the Bruen decision at the US Supreme Court. The court, in a 6-3 decision, ruled that the Second Amendment effectively means what it says, and that any effort to restrict it must follow commonplace contemporary laws of the 18th and 19th centuries.
Clarence Thomas wrote the majority decision that ended the two-part “balancing test” that courts had used to sidestep the Heller decision in Second Amendment court cases for ten-plus years. In its place, we now have strict scrutiny at the least, and others believe the burden even higher based upon some of the language in Bruen.
What does this mean for Illinois? Well, if you listen to the Gun Violence Prevention Political Action Committee (G-PAC), one of the best-funded anti-gun groups in our state, they say it doesn’t change a thing.
At the same time, the G-PAC press release reads like an intern wrote it after getting back from a long lunch at the cannabis dispensary.
Meanwhile, the Land of Lincoln’s Attorney General Kwame Raoul claims much of the same. Obviously he didn’t finish anywhere near the top of his law class.
Here’s what the Bruen decision will mean, eventually.
The FOID card is dead.
There were no FOID cards back in the 1700s. In fact, Guns Save Life [has sought] a summary judgement along those lines in our existing lawsuit challenging the FOID Act’s constitutionality.
Expect off-the-charts screeching when the FOID Act gets struck down.
Say goodbye to gun bans and magazine bans, like those in Chicago, Highland Park and Deerfield. In fact SCOTUS already sent a gun ban case and a mag ban case back to their respective district courts to decide in accordance with the Bruen decision.
Fewer prohibited locations.
The Bruen decision outlines that government may prohibit carry in “sensitive” areas with historical precedent from the 1700 and 1800s. There weren’t many of those in those times.
No doubt government attorneys will argue for a plethora of “sensitive” locations, but they don’t have historical precedent to support most. And one definition of “sensitive location” we can all agree upon includes security screening with metal detectors.
Arbitrary bans on carrying guns on mass transit will be among the first to go. Signs will also come down on parks, playgrounds and non-sensitive government facilities (like rest areas, libraries and community centers). Also, the prohibition on carry for special events and protests will also likely fail to meet strict scrutiny.
Homebrew gun crafting.
Americans have built guns at home without regulatory requirements to register them with the government or serialize them since the Mayflower landed. Pritzker’s new “Ghost Gun” ban faces big legal hurdles to remain in effect.
The mandatory registration of private gun sales, due to take effect January 1, 2024 will also be on our agenda to chuck into the dust bin of history. People didn’t have to register private gun sales with the government in the 1700s.
Furthermore, we suspect the 16-hour mandated training for concealed carry licenses may also meet the buzz saw. After all, how many states required 16-hours of training before carrying a firearm outside the home back in the late 1700s?
Here’s where the problem comes.
The politicians political hacks leading Illinois aren’t going to roll over and play nice. They only follow the rule of law when it suits them. They’re probably going to stubbornly thumb their noses at Bruen just like they thumb their noses as federal immigration laws.
It will be up to intrepid gun owners and groups like Guns Save Life to challenge existing bad laws. While we have limited resources for court actions, we’ve already had people making donations towards funding those coming fights.
Democrats in Springfield have been known to ignore the courts and laws before. Our state’s political leaders may rationalize flipping SCOTUS the bird on Bruen as allowing them to delay the inevitable for a couple of years as lawsuits wind through the courts. Yes, even though Democrat party lawyers have told leaders of their caucus that gun bans are a non-starter in court.
Rest assured, we’re going after the lowest-hanging fruit first, going after laws that adversely impact the most residents first. Clearly, we have our work cut out for us.
Frankly, a Darren Bailey administration would probably become an ally to roll back these racist and classist gun control laws.
Rest assured we’re going to be busy in court no matter who lives in the governor’s office (or in a mansion on Chicago’s Gold Coast) in the next few years.