The Illinois Supreme Court heard arguments in a case challenging the state's Firearm Owner Identification card law that could affect a single person or the entire state.
State law requires Illinois residents to have a valid FOID card to own a firearm. In 2017 in White County, Vivian Brown’s estranged husband called police claiming she fired a shot at him. Police found no evidence of that, but did find a rifle inside her home. She didn’t have a FOID card and was charged with violating the state's FOID card law.
A circuit court previously ruled in Brown’s favor. The Illinois Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case Tuesday.
Brown’s attorney, David Sigale, told the justices his client does not have any of the issues that would disqualify her from owning a firearm, such as like being a felon or a drug user or being mentally ill, factors that bar someone from owning guns under federal laws.
“If you don’t meet one of those characteristics or disqualifiers and you want a long gun for protection in your home, which goes all the way back to colonial times, no, the state should not be allowed to regulate that if you are a law-abiding person,” Sigale said.
The state argued that the FOID card law is constitutional for public safety reasons. Sigale said the challenge only deals with requiring a FOID card to have a gun at home.
“We’re not challenging having a FOID card to purchase or to sell,” he said. “We’re not challenging any issues with regard to carrying firearms while in public.”
Supreme Court Justice Jane Theis asked Sigale if the challenge was specific to Brown’s case or would apply statewide.
“Are your arguments here as-applied constitutional challenges or facial constitutional challenges because obviously there are very different analysis that the court obviously very different analysis the court would have to perform,” Theis said.
Sigale said while his challenge was specific to Brown’s case, it could impact others.
“I’m acknowledging as the circuit court did that a ruling in this case affirming the circuit court affects other people,” Sigale said.
The state asked for the lower court's ruling to be reversed.
Because of "the important government interest in keeping guns out of the hands of inherently risky people, the people ask that this court uphold the FOID Card Act under the Second Amendment and reverse the opinion of the circuit court in this case," Assistant Attorney General Garson Fishcer said.
It’s unclear when the Supreme Court will make a decision in the case.