In an appeal from the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in Quilici v. Village of Morton Grove ( 532 E. Supp. 1169 N.D. Ill., 1981) affirmed the decision of the district court that the Village of Morton Grove's Ordinance No. 81-11, which prohibits the possession of handguns within the borders of the village, is constitutional. In the ordinance, Morton Grove officials declared that the availability of firearms increased the probability of gun- related deaths and injuries and that handguns are strongly related to the commission of such crimes as homicide, assault, and armed robbery, and are responsible for accidental injuries and deaths.
Victor Quilici began his challenge of the ordinance in state court, but at the instigation of Morton Grove, the case was shifted to the federal court system and combined with two additional challenges to the ordinance. The plaintiffs claimed that the ordinance violated article I, section 22 of the state constitution of Illinois, which states that, "Subject only to the police power, the right of the individual citizen to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed." In addition, the claim was made that the ordinance violated the Second, Ninth, and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.
Morton Grove held that section 22 of the state constitution guaranteed the keeping of some, but not all, firearms. The court of appeals agreed with the district court that the police power in Illinois justifies limiting the right to keep and bear arms. The court argued, first, that the state constitution grants the right to keep and bear arms, but not specifically handguns, and second, that although the constitutional framers intended handguns to be among those firearms conditionally protected, they also intended that local governments could employ their police power to restrict or prohibit the possession of handguns.
In response to the appellants' argument that allowing municipalities to exercise the police power to enact dissimilar gun control laws would lead to an absurd situation involving a crazy quilt of various ordinances across the state, the court declared that the state constitution allows home rule charters for local governments, permitting them to govern their own affairs as they deem appropriate in a wide number of areas, including regulation for protection of the public health, safety, morals, and welfare, and to tax and assume debt. Whether wise policy or not, municipalities may set their own standards regarding gun control because the state constitution only prohibits a ban on all firearms. As long as the Morton Grove ordinance does not prohibit all firearms, it does not violate the provisions of the state constitution. In