An Illinois woman had charges against her thrown out on Monday after a judge ruled the state’s gun ownership permit fees violated the Second Amendment.
Vivian Claudine Brown no longer faces criminal prosecution for having a gun inside her home without a Firearm Owner’s Identification (FOID) card. Illinois Circuit Court Judge T. Scott Webb found the $10 fee required to obtain a FOID card was an unconstitutional restriction on Brown’s right to own a gun. He ordered the charges be dropped and said it was impossible to square charging a fee for the permit with Second Amendment protections.
“It simply cannot be the case that a citizen must pay a fee in order to exercise a core individual Second Amendment right within their own home,” Webb wrote in the ruling. “If the right to bear arms and self-defense are truly core rights, there should be no burden on the citizenry to enjoy those rights, especially within the confines and privacy of their own homes.”
The ruling casts doubt on the validity of Illinois’s gun ownership permitting scheme and will likely require the state’s statute to be repealed or reformed unless the state wins files and wins an appeal.
The Second Amendment Foundation, which joined Brown in her suit, cheered the ruling. Alan Gottlieb, the group’s founder, said the case wouldn’t eliminate the FOID card system, but it will have an immediate impact on how the law is enforced.
“It’s a chilling effect on the state to be able to charge anybody with a crime for having a gun in their own home without a foid card,” he told The Reload. “At this point, the state would be hard-pressed to be able to do that.”
Webb’s ruling comes after a similar ruling was appealed to the state’s supreme court and then remanded to be tried again.
“This is the second time the judges ruled in our favor,” Gottlieb said. “And this judge was even stronger than the first judge.”
He said the ruling is a “breakthrough” because it is the first case to determine the government charging fees for the ability to have a gun within your own home is unconstitutional. He said that could have an impact beyond Illinois.
“This has significant ramifications to other suits that we could be filing in other places,” Gottlieb said. “There are lots of places that charge all kinds of money to be able to get a permit to own a gun.”