Cook County Forest Preserve

Will We Have a Ruling on Cook County Forest Gun Free Zones?

Carrying Concealed in Cook County Forests, a ruling may be soon to come.

 

Simon Solomon was arrested in the Cook County forest preserve for carrying concealed firearms while fishing. He had a valid Illinois concealed carry license, however Cook County Forest Preserves are listed as prohibited areas in the Illinois Firearm Concealed Carry Licensing Act.

 

The case was later dismissed due to the skillful ability of his lawyer, Marshall Libert, but the story does not end there. In fact, it is just the beginning.  Simon Solomon and Marshal Libert felt it was a violation of Solomon’s rights prohibiting him to carry in just one of the 102 county forest preserves in the state of Illinois. Therefore, Libert brought on attorneys Ilia Usharovich, Sheldon Sorosky, and  Michael Sorosky into the case, creating a powerhouse legal team.

 

This dream team of 2nd amendment lawyers came together and filed a case in federal court (Solomon vs Madigan et al). The issue is whether the state is able to ban a licensee from carrying a concealed firearm in the Cook County Forest preserve. It seems that they cannot…

According to arguments to be presented by Ilia Usharovich and his team,

The Second Amendment guarantees individuals a fundamental right to carry operable handguns in non-sensitive public places for the purpose of self-defense. Although higher court rulings have determined the States retain the ability to regulate the manner of carrying handguns within constitutional parameter and can prohibit the carrying of handguns in specific, narrowly defined sensitive places. The States may not completely ban the carrying of handguns for self-defense, or deny individuals the right to carry handguns in non-sensitive places, deprive individuals of the right to carry handguns in an arbitrary and capricious manner, or impose regulations on the right to carry handguns that are inconsistent with the Second Amendment.

 

The dispute is with the flawed Illinois Concealed Carry Licensing Act as well as the Forest Preserve of Cook County Code which state:

(430 ILCS 66/65(a)(14)) that, “A licensee under this Act shall not knowingly carry a firearm on or into Any real property under the control of the Cook County Forest Preserve District.”

FPDCC Code Section 3-3-6 provides, “No unauthorized person shall carry or wear under his or her clothes, or concealed about his or her person, any pistol, revolver, derringer, bowie knife, dirk knife, or dirk razor, dagger, slingshot, metallic knuckles or other dangerous or deadly weapon in or upon any preserve*

 

The argument of Ilia Usharovich and the dream team continues,

The Second Amendment, “guarantee[s] the individual right to possess and carry weapons in case of confrontation.” District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570, 592 (2008). 22. 430 ILCS 66/65(a)(14) and FPDCC Code Section 3-3-6 is invalid as applied to prohibit a citizen of Illinois, who is licensed to carry a concealed weapon, from carrying a loaded and operable firearm for the purpose of self-defense in a non-sensitive public place such a Forest preserve.

 

Furthermore, the prohibitions on concealed carry in all property under control of the County Forest preserve fails to distinguish between sensitive and nonsensitive areas. As such, it not the least restrictive means necessary to enforce the compelling or important government interest which may be asserted by the State. It is a flat blanket prohibition on carrying firearms on any property which includes non-sensitive places, under the control of the cook county Forest preserve property.

 

FPDCC Code Section 3-3-6 is also invalid in that the prohibitions on concealed carry in all preserves fails to distinguish between sensitive and non-sensitive areas. As such, it not the least restrictive means necessary to enforce the compelling or important government interest which may be asserted by the State. It is a flat blanket prohibition on carrying firearms on any property which includes non-sensitive places. 430 ILCS 66/65(a)(14) is invalid in that it is arbitrary and irrational and violates the 14th amendment and Federal due process clause.

 

There are 101 other counties that are not expressly included in this legislation. There is no logical reason and the legislature has not provided a rational basis, nor could they, as to why one county is specifically included while the remaining 102 counties are not. As such, the means chosen are arbitrary because the inclusion of this county and no others is unreasonable, irrational and arbitrary. See People v. Lindner 127 Ill. 2d 174, 183, 535 N.E.2d 829, 833 (1989).

 

The legislation fails all standards of scrutiny. 430 ILCS 66/65(a)(14) is invalid in that violates equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment and the United States Constitution. The Statute treats similarly situated individuals differently and concerns fundamental rights relating to use of public properties and the Second Amendment. Specifically, residents from Cook County whom are licensed to carry concealed weapons and whom are entitled to use the public property such as forests preserves are denied the right to bear arms for self-defense in their local forest preserve while 101 other county residents are allowed by State law to do so.

 

There is no rational basis for this distinction, no substantial or compelling government interest, and the means of advancing this interest are irrational and arbitrary. There is no reason Cook County Residents should have to jog or fish in another County in order to exercise their right to self-defense while jogging or fishing.

 

We may soon have the “Solomon Ruling” in Illinois.

 

Additional Reading here: https://www.courthousenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/CookCountyGuns.pdf

Thomas Kral

Thomas Kral is an avid gun rights advocate being involved in the movement in Illinois since 2012 and became one of the very first Concealed Carry instructors to be certified by the Illinois State Police in 2013.

Thomas is also a proud father and husband, having said, "The only things more important than 2nd Amendment issues and gun rights are my wife and kids."

5 Comments

  1. Great post Tom. Thanks

  2. Illinois gun citizens are treated 2nd class…. the Cook County Forest Preserve District has worked hard to violate our 2nd Amendment Rights….. we are tax paying citizens and deserve better treatment. Why not a public gun range on Forest Preserve property as well!

  3. There no doubt that the Cook County ban violates our Constitutional rights. However some judges create decisions based on the desired outcome. So this may result in a bizarre ruling.

  4. Any updates on this?

    1. It appears that arguments are over and we are awaiting a ruling from the Judge, but please don’t quote me on that.

      It also appears that the deadline for the judgement may have been missed. A motion to file “instanter” was filed just a week ago, according to court documents. However, since funds don’t allow paying for those court documents, I am only guessing why this motion was filed.

      Take this reply as pure speculation! I do know there hasn’t been a judgement yet.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *