The Illinois Supreme Court handed down an opinion today in People v. Chairez. At issue in this case was the constitutionality of a section of the unlawful use of a weapon statute that prohibits an individual from carrying or possessing a firearm within 1000 feet of a public park. Kerry Bryson of the Office of the State Appellate Defender reviews the court's ruling.
Over the past several years, constitutional challenges to various provisions of the unlawful use of weapons (UUW) statute have made their way through the courts. Chairez involves another such challenge, specifically with regard to the provision prohibiting an individual from carrying or possessing a firearm within 1000 feet of a public park [720 ILCS 5/24-1 (a)(4), (c)(1.5)].
In 2013, Julio Chairez pled guilty to possessing a firearm within 1000 feet of a park in Aurora. Subsequently, Chairez filed a post-conviction petition arguing that the statute violated the second amendment and seeking to vacate his conviction. The circuit court agreed, and the case proceeded directly to the Illinois Supreme Court.