By NIOSH (NIOSH) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
STERLING - A northwest Illinois gun club and one of its members have sued the Illinois state government, asking the courts to declare Illinois’ prohibition on open carry of firearms unconstitutional.
On Nov. 8, plaintiffs Simon Eichelberger and the Sinnissippi Rod & Gun Club, of Sterling, filed suit in Whiteside County Circuit Court. Defendants named in the complaint include Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul and Illinois State Police Director Brendan Kelly, both in their official capacities, as state officers tasked with enforcing the state’s firearms laws.
The plaintiffs are represented in the action by attorney Dmitry N. Feofanov, of ChicagoLemonLaw.com P.C., of Lyndon.
According to the relatively brief four-page complaint, Eichelberger and other members of the Sinnissippi club, as well as many other gun owners throughout the state, hold Firearms Owners Identification Cards (FOID) and are licensed by the state to conceal and carry their handguns.
According to the complaint, Eichelberger is also a National Rifle Association Certified Firearms Instructor and an Illinois certified Conceal Carry License instructor.
However, the complaint asserts Eichelberger and other members of the club, as well as firearms owners throughout Illinois, would choose to carry their weapons in plain sight, if they did not feel it was illegal to do so.
“Most of (the club’s) members would carry a loaded and functional handgun openly in public for self-defense and defense of others, but they refrain from doing so because they fear arrest and prosecution, as they understand it is unlawful to open-carry handguns in Illinois,” the complaint said.
The complaint asserts this state law is unconstitutional under the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, as interpreted by the U.S. Supreme Court in its 2008 decision in District of Columbia v Heller, and as interpreted by the Illinois Supreme Court in decisions in 2013 and 2018.
The state’s “enforcement of these unconstitutional statutes infringe Plaintiffs’ Second Amendment rights … and irreparably damage Plaintiffs,” the complaint said, adding: “Plaintiffs are entitled to enjoy their constitutional rights without fear of criminal penalties.”
The complaint asks the court to strike down any section of Illinois state law criminalizing open carry of handguns.
Feofanov said he is not requesting the court award him any attorney fees from the case, as his “goal is to uphold the U.S. Constitution, not to make money off it.”