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In re Jordan G.

Supreme Court of Illinois

February 20, 2015

In re JORDAN G., a Minor (The People of the State of Illinois, Appellant,
v.
Jordan G., Appellee)

Circuit court judgment affirmed in part and reversed in part. Cause remanded.

Lisa Madigan, Attorney General, of Springfield, and Anita Alvarez, State's Attorney, of Chicago (Alan J. Spellberg, Michelle Katz and Jon Walters, Assistant State's Attorneys, of counsel), for the People.

Abishi C. Cunningham, Jr., Public Defender, of Chicago (Lester Finkle and Kim L. Sorrells, Assistant Public Defenders, of counsel), for appellee.

Jonathan K. Baum, of Katten, Muchin Rosenman LLP, of Chicago, and Jonathan E. Lowy, Robert B. Wilcox, Jr., and Alla Lefkowitz, of Washington, D.C., for amici curiae Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence et al.

JUSTICE THEIS delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Chief Justice Garman and Justices Freeman, Thomas, Kilbride, Karmeier, and Burke concurred in the judgment and opinion.

OPINION

THEIS, J.

Page 163

[¶1] In this direct appeal, we are asked to consider the constitutionality of certain sections of the aggravated unlawful use of a weapon (AUUW) statute. 720 ILCS 5/24-1.6 (West 2012). Respondent, 16-year-old

Page 164

Jordan G., was charged by petition for adjudication of wardship under the Juvenile Court Act of 1987 with three counts of AUUW and one count of unlawful possession of a firearm (UPF). The circuit court granted respondent's motion to dismiss the petition, declaring the AUUW statute unconstitutional. The State appealed the circuit court's ruling directly to this court under Illinois Supreme Court Rule 603 (eff. Feb. 6, 2013). For the following reasons, we now affirm in part, reverse in part, and remand for further proceedings consistent with our opinion.

[¶2] BACKGROUND

[¶3] In April 2013, the State filed a petition for adjudication of wardship charging the minor respondent with three counts of AUUW and one count of UPF. Specifically, the petition alleged that respondent was a delinquent minor because he carried in a vehicle an uncased, loaded, and immediately accessible firearm in violation of section 24-1.6(a)(1), (a)(3)(A) of the Criminal Code of 1961 (Code) (720 ILCS 5/24-1.6(a)(1), (a)(3)(A) (West 2012)); carried a handgun in a vehicle when he was under 21 years of age in violation of section 24-1.6(a)(1), (a)(3)(I) (under 21 restriction) (720 ILCS 5/24-1.6(a)(1), (a)(3)(I) (West 2012)); and carried a firearm in a vehicle without having been issued a currently valid Firearm Owner's Identification (FOID) card in violation of section 24-1.6(a)(1), (a)(3)(C) (FOID card requirement) (720 ILCS 5/24-1.6(a)(1), (a)(3)(C) (West 2012)). The UPF count alleged that respondent, being a person under 18 years of age, knowingly possessed a firearm of a size which may be concealed upon the person in violation of section 24-3.1(a)(1) of the Code. 720 ILCS 5/24-3.1(a)(1) (West 2012).

[¶4] Thereafter, respondent filed a motion to dismiss, contending that the AUUW statute had been found unconstitutional by the Seventh Circuit in Moore v. Madigan, 702 F.3d 933, 941 (7th Cir. 2012), as violating the second amendment right to bear arms for self-defense outside the home. Following a hearing, the circuit court agreed with respondent, ruling that section 24-1.6 was held facially unconstitutional in its entirety by Moore, and that the circuit court was bound by the Seventh Circuit decision. Accordingly, the court dismissed the three AUUW counts, but denied the motion as to the unlawful possession of a firearm count based upon respondent's age as being under 18.

[¶5] The State subsequently filed a motion to reconsider. At the time of the hearing on the motion, this court had decided People v. Aguilar, 2013 IL 112116, 377 Ill.Dec. 405, 2 N.E.3d 321, where we initially held that section 24-1.6(a)(1), (a)(3)(A) of the AUUW statute violated the second amendment right to keep and bear arms. In light of Aguilar, the State conceded that count of the petition had been properly dismissed. Nevertheless, the State argued that the remaining counts remained constitutionally valid because they required proof of independent aggravating factors. The State noted Aguilar 's admonishment that the right to a firearm outside the home for self-defense was not unlimited and was subject to meaningful regulation. The State further noted this court's citation with approval in Aguilar to cases recognizing that restricting the availability of firearms to those younger than 21 years of age does not offend the second amendment.

[¶6] The trial court denied the State's motion to reconsider, holding that because an element of both the under 21 restriction and the FOID card requirement of the AUUW statute involved a prohibition on

Page 165

the carrying of a gun outside the home, those provisions were unconstitutional under Moore. The State appealed directly to this court. Ill. Const. 1970, art. VI, § 4(b); Ill. S.Ct. R. 603 (eff. Feb. 6, 2013). We allowed the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, the City of Chicago, and the ...


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