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Cook County prosecutors: No new gun laws despite federal court ruling

By   /   February 19, 2013  /   8 Comments

By Benjamin Yount | Illinois Watchdog

SPRINGFIELD  — Prosecutors in Chicago are telling state lawmakers they can essentially ignore a federal court ruling and not legalize concealed carry in Illinois.

The Illinois House on Tuesday held the first of two statewide hearings on how to legally allow people to carry a gun in the state. Illinois is the only state in the nation that bars anyone from carrying a pistol outside their home. In December, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals said Illinois must change that.

DON’T WORRY: Cook County’s Paul Castiglione says Illinois is not forced to act because of federal court ruling.

But Paul Castiglione, policy director for the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office, told lawmakers there is no need for a new law.

“Only the Illinois Supreme Court can declare a statue from (the legislature) unconstitutional,” Castiglione told lawmakers Tuesday. “I heard (someone) say that after 180 days our UUW (unlawful use of weapon) statute is unconstitutional. Not so.”

But Cook County State’s Attorney ‘s office seems to be the only one willing to gamble that Illinois is not bound by the federal court.

Chicago Democrat Mike Zalewski said unless and until Castiglione has a different court order or legal opinion, he should keep his mouth shut.

TRYING TO WORK HERE: Rep. Mike Zalewski says lawmakers need to focus on constitutional gun laws.

“We’re charged with passing a constitutional (law) down here in the next 60 to 90 days,” Zalewski said. “And if there is a dissenting belief that there is no ticking clock, it’s going to cause all of us who wish to come to a constitutional, fair, and balanced solution (to have) a more difficult slog ahead.”

Castiglione said he has not spoken with the Illinois Attorney General or any of the state’s other 101 prosecutors.

Todd Vandermyde, lobbyist for the Illinois State Rifle Association, said a number of courts have been ruled and the impact is clear.

“We went to court and won,” Vandermyde told lawmakers as he explained what a new law should look like.

ACT NOW: The ISRA’s Todd Vandermyde says if Illinois waits, there will be no laws to stop people from carrying guns.

“This is not like pensions, that you can kick the can down the road forever,” Vandermyde said. “On or about June 8th or June 10th, the clock runs out.”

When the clock runs out, Vandermyde and a number of lawmakers say anyone in Illinois who has a valid firearms owner identification card will be able to carry any weapon they want almost anywhere they want.

State Rep. Dennis Reboletti, R-Elmhurst, said gun control supporters need to realize that.

“It’s very frustrating to me, as a Representative, that we have the city of Chicago with three million people that won’t negotiate with the General Assembly,” Reboletti said. “We see a lot of that here, where it’s all or nothing. Pretty soon it’s going to be nothing.”

The Rifle Assocoiation’s Vandermyde said leaders in Chicago have decided to make guns into the “boogeyman” and blame guns for problems with jobs, schools and families that the city cannot solve.

Chicago Democrat Andre Thapedi said there are a lot of still unanswered questions about how a statewide concealed carry law would work in Chicago.

“I want to ensure that law-abiding citizens have their rights protected,” Thapedi added. “At the same token, the spirit of what the city of Chicago is trying to do, as far as keeping safeguards and reasonable restrictions on gun use are in play.”

Chicago has been one of the most violent cities in America in recent months. President Obama was just in the city last week to speak about gun violence, but the speech did not stop a handful of weekend shootings.

Illinois lawmakers will host their second hearing on gun legislation next week in Chicago. Lawmakers have until the last day of the spring session on May 31 or until the federal court deadline June 9th to pass some sort of concealed carry law.

You can contact Benjamin Yount at [email protected].



Ben formerly served as staff reporter for Watchdog.org.

  • CC will be law in Illinois, no matter what some asshat clown from the crooked Crook County attorneys office babbles about. The chitty of Shi…cago is using the boogie man tactic because they reap in big money for fancy toys for their political ‘law enforcement’ smoke and mirrors show, but use little to crush the real problem – THE GANGS. It will get worse because of this, because the chitty has opened their ‘wide shoulders’ and welcomed and sheltered all the illegal democr… alians, and in turn this scum turns the neighborhood into a little filthy mexican village, at the same time allowing the Obama Community Organized Thug Gangs to shoot’em up daily unencombered by laws, rules, regulations, controls, common sense, values… It’s the gangs, morons!!!

  • So they don’t believe in the United States Constitution, the highest law of the land?

  • Let the time run out, I would rather Open-Carry my gun and not have to get a Permit.

  • 123456789

    Mr. Castiglione is incorrect when he states that only the Illinois Supreme Court can declare a state law unconstitutional. Federal courts declare state laws to be unconstitutional as a matter of course (for example, Chicago’s ban on in-the-home gun possession was struck down by the federal supreme court in 2010; Chicago’s ban on firearm ranges was struck down by the federal 7th Cir. Court of Appeals last year). This is con-law 101 for a first-year law student.

    Equally misleading, Mr. Castiglione fails to explain that the 7th Cir. Court of Appeals issued an injunction effective June 2013. This means that Illinois’ prosecutors will be banned (i.e., enjoined) from enforcing the unconstitutional laws. At that point, even if the Illinois Supreme Court were to find Illinois’ ban to be constitutional, its ruling would, in all practical effect, be meaningless because of the injunction against using the laws.

    It’s disturbing that the Policy Director for the Cook Co. State’s Attorney’s Office would so flagrantly mislead Illinois’ House of Representatives, the media, and our citizens. People should be fairly informed so that they can meaningfully participate in this important policy debate.

  • Jim Kelly

    Lol. If they don’t do something you will be able to oc or cc with no license.

  • MichaelW

    …unless there is a local ordinance against carry – as is the case in a lot of municipalities. Without a state bill passing with preemption of home rule authority the situation would be a mess. ‘Constitution Carry’ would only effectively exist in unincorporated areas and counties without their own restrictions.

  • Ron04

    Not true – if the the state law is voided all the local ones will be as well. It might take a couple of appeals but you would get there eventually.

  • dam it -ovomit was in shitcago and they missed—castiglione is gonna get that one shoved right up his ole fat ass