COOK COUNTY CRIMINAL COURTHOUSE — Chicago rapper Lil Durk isn't off the hook yet, but prosecutors have dismissed the most serious gun charges against him.
The rising hip-hop star, who has been feuding with fellow South Side rapper Chief Keef, was locked up in June after police said they saw him toss a loaded .40-caliber handgun into a parked car in Englewood.
Prosecutors hit the 21-year-old Def Jam recording artist — whose real name is Durk D. Banks — with a five-count indictment that included criminal counts of gun possession and possession of a weapon by a felon.
But on Monday, in response to a recent Illinois Supreme Court ruling that found parts of the state's gun law unconstitutional, the Cook County State's Attorney's Office dropped the charge of possession of a weapon by a felon, the most serious charge in the case.
"We are certainly very happy that the major charges got dropped," said defense attorney Sam Adam Jr., who once represented former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich. "The remaining charges should get dropped as well."
The Illinois Supreme Court struck down part of the state's aggravated unauthorized use of weapons law, which, among other things, made it a criminal offense for people to bear arms outside of their home or business, ruling that it violates the Second Amendment.
The decision stems from the 2008 arrest and conviction of Alberto Aguilar, a 17-year-old who got caught with a gun in a friend's backyard.
After he was found guilty, Aguilar appealed, with his lawyers arguing the law under which he was convicted was unconstitutional. The high court agreed, labeling the law a "comprehensive ban.”
The Cook County State's Attorney's Office said Monday that it moved to dismiss three counts of possession of a gun by a felon against Lil Durk in response to the Supreme Court decision, but it did not elaborate.
Prosecutors, a spokeswoman said, have been dealing with cases affected by the Aguilar ruling as they come up.
The Supreme Court reversed Aguilar's conviction under the part of the law at issue — the part of the state's gun law to which Lil Durk can attribute his status as a felon.
In October 2011, the rapper was hit with gun charges, including possession of a firearm with a defaced serial number. He pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of aggravated unauthorized use of a weapon, according to court records.
That conviction, his attorney said, could also potentially be overturned as a result of the Aguilar decision.
Lil Durk still faces one count of possessing a gun and a second count for being underage when he was caught with it.
Adam argued his client had a constitutional right to have a gun, a fact that he said was affirmed by the Supreme Court when it ruled in the Aguilar case.
"Your constitutional rights are not limited by an age requirement, No. 1," Adam said. "They seem to have forgotten that there were people under 21 who fought in the Revolution."
Adam said the Supreme Court decision could have wide-reaching implications for the Cook County justice system and for public safety.
"We've got to make a choice here," Adam said. "I am not taking a position [on gun laws], but you've got to contend with the Bill of Rights, and you've got to amend it."
"Are we going to follow what the Constitution says?" he asked. "Either we are a community of laws, or we are not."