A gun charge against a Champaign man has been dismissed after the Legislature overrode Gov. Pat Quinn's objections to the state's new concealed-carry law this week.
Donnell L. Jackson had faced a charge of aggravated unlawful use of a weapon after police arrested him in Springfield in December 2011 and found a gun in his sweatshirt during a pat-down.
"Now we have a concealed carry law, and people will have to follow it in Illinois," said Sangamon County State's Attorney John Milhiser.
Milhiser had resisted a previous attempt in February by Jackson's attorney to have the charge dismissed. But he reversed course after the new legislation cleared its final obstacles this week with the vote by lawmakers and a mandate from the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals that formally found the old concealed-carry ban unconstitutional.
The federal court last year declared Illinois' last-in-the-nation ban on concealed weapons to be unconstitutional and ordered lawmakers to craft legislation allowing people to carry firearms. But the court had stayed its mandate until the law could be changed.
The law directs authorities to issue carry permits to applicants who have a Firearm Owner's Identification card, pass a background check and undergo 16 hours of training. It will be months before the first carry permits can be issued, but Milhiser said the court mandate invalidated the law Jackson was accused of breaking.
Jackson had a valid Firearm Owner's Identification card at the time of his arrest.
"With the dismissal of Mr. Jackson's case, we believe justice has finally been served," said his attorney, Daniel Noll. "This case is a testament to the judicial process in our country and a victory for the United States Constitution."