Illinois Considering Stricter Limits on Gun Ownership
The debate rages on
As of this writing, gun ownership remains a Second Amendment-protected right for most citizens of the United States, including those living in its fifth most heavily populated state, Illinois. However, following a December 11, 2012 federal ruling that Illinois ban anyone from carrying a weapon outside the home, gun-free zones may be enacted, curtailing the new concealed carry privilege. The measure, should it go into effect, will also ban certain assault weapons and large capacity ammunition magazines.
It is important to understand these potential legal restrictions on gun ownership and how they may apply to you, as your defense could depend on whether you discharged a legally-owned weapon according to the law or if you are guilty of a felony.
Tragedy and backlash
After the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the state’s broad concealed carry ban at the end of 2012, Illinois lawmakers were told they had 180 days to come up with a new law that included legalized concealed carry. After the 2013 tragedies in Newtown, CT and closer to home in Chicago (where a 15-year-old girl who had just performed at the presidential inauguration was shot and killed), the legislative response was to come up with a restricted concealed carry law that many feel only serves to limit the rights of law-abiding Illinois citizens. The proposal includes gun-free zones where no one is allowed to have an otherwise legal weapon. The proposed gun-free zones would include the following:
- Daycare centers
- Government buildings
- Public transportation
These cover a lot of territory, making it difficult for someone carrying a legally-owned weapon not to inadvertently violate these zones. Under the new law, many fear innocent Illinois gun owners could face felony weapons charges even for accidentally getting too close to one of these venues.
Lawmakers have until June to make concealed carry law as directed by the federal appeals court. Exactly how legal carrying a weapon outside the home will become remains to be seen. However, should the House and Senate of Illinois pass these proposed restrictive measures you may find yourself in need of criminal defense attorney, even if your gun is owned legally.