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Posted: 8/8/2001 5:31:16 AM EDT
Story from the Chicago Tribune (edited for length) Published August 8, 2001 The criminal case against John Horstman was going to test the state's law about what constitutes illegal transportation of a firearm. But that test will wait. DuPage County State's Atty. Joseph Birkett on Tuesday dropped the charges against Horstman, who had been arrested July 24 on the Illinois Prairie Path near West Chicago after authorities found a 9-mm handgun in his backpack. "The evidence we had doesn't warrant the charge," Birkett said Tuesday. His review of police reports and other evidence from Horstman's arrest led to the dismissal, he said. Dismissing the charges "is the right thing to do," he said. When asked whether the sheriff's officers erred in arresting Horstman, Birkett said, "We'll take that up with the sheriff." [green]Tapdance music here[/green] Sheriff's spokeswoman Monica Sampias said the arresting officers called an assistant state's attorney after finding the gun and a knife on Horstman. She did not know which assistant state's attorney the officers contacted. "They approved the charges and that's why he was arrested," she said. [green]More tapdance music[/green] Horstman, whose only brush with the law had been a speeding ticket, was carrying his gun in a Velcro pocket in the zipped leather carrying case in his backpack. DuPage County sheriff's police stopped him because they said he resembled the description of a man wanted for criminal conduct on the path. He said he was carrying it on his planned six-hour bicycle ride on the chance he would venture into an unincorporated area where it would be legal for him to shoot. Horstman, a licensed gun owner, also carried three loaded clips in the case, and he acknowledged he had a pocket knife in the waistband of his pants for protection. "I'm relieved," said Horstman, a 40-year-old computer systems engineer from Elgin. "I expected an outcome like this. I believe I am in compliance with the law." Horstman said he has received "well over 100 e-mails" supporting his views. About 1,000 advocates of carrying firearms in fanny packs and similarly designed cases were planning to assemble at Horstman's next court date, said John Birch, president of Concealed Carry Inc., an Oak Brook group promoting the use of cases to carry firearms. "No matter what spin you put on this, Mr. Horstman did not break any law," Birch said. "Fanny pack carry is the law of the land until such time that the legislature sees fit to change it." Birch said he would have welcomed a chance to have the state law clarified in court. "On a legal level, there is disappointment," he said. "But no one feels badly about Mr. Birkett's decision, and we're really happy for Mr. Horstman and especially for his family." Birkett said the law's intent is at the heart of the confusion. Some gun owners interpret the law as a way to arm themselves, Birkett said, but he views the wording as a definition of the legal transport of weapons. "I don't want to be put in the situation of being a test case," he said. Horstman said he was planning to celebrate with his family. And, he said he will continue bicycling with his gun safely tucked in its case. "But not in DuPage," Horstman said. "There's really no place to shoot there. It looks too populated. I'll go out west."
Link Posted: 8/8/2001 11:16:52 AM EDT
Having lived in DuPage county for over 50 years, I can say without any equivocation that Mr. Horstman lucked out, big time.
Link Posted: 8/8/2001 11:34:41 AM EDT
They dropped it because they did not want to go to court where a lot of their crap might blow up in their faces.
Link Posted: 8/8/2001 11:45:24 AM EDT
Anyways, they dropped the charges, but did he get his FOID back too. The game goes on around here in Illinois. c-rock
Link Posted: 8/8/2001 11:53:29 AM EDT
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