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Recently, Illinois passed a "Concealed Carry" law. This change was forced upon the State when the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Moore v. Madigan ruled that Illinois gun laws violated the 2nd Amendment. At first, many prosecutor's offices, including Cook County's, insisted that this did not affect them. However, ultimately the Illinois Supreme Court agreed in People v. Aguilar. In response, the Illinois legislature passed a new law that provides for a process by which a person can obtain a permit to carry a concealed weapon.
So what does this mean in practical terms? First, it does not mean that a person can just stroll into Walmart and walk out with a Glock. Possessing a firearm on the street without an Illinois Firearm Owner's Identification Card is still a felony. Defense attorneys are arguing that the FOID portion of the law is also unconstitutional, but the Illinois Appellate court has held in People v. Henderson, 2013 IL App (1st) 113294, 2013 Ill. App. LEXIS 874 that is not. However, the Illinois Supreme Court will likely weigh in on this issue in the near future.
It does mean that citizens with no felony convictions and an FOID card can still apply for a conceal carry permit. For information on how to obtain a conceal carry permit, visit the Illinois Concealed Carry License section of the Illinois State Police website. Even with a conceal/carry permit, Chicago Police still maintain an antagonism toward citizens with guns. Anecdotal evidence suggests that if the police see a citizen with a conceal carry permit and see a firearm, they will stop and question that person, at a minimum.
This truth is compounded by the fact that Chicago police are rewarded for confiscating firearms. Clients of Steven R. Hunter often tell him that the police offer not to arrest them if they can lead the police to a firearm. Others have indicated that guns which were lawfully cased and inaccessible in the trunk were seized and then the police claimed the guns were loaded, accessible and on the seat of the car. Never volunteer to the police that you have a gun, even if it is legal. Police often ask motorists and other citizens if they have a gun, but you have no obligation to answer that question.
It is legal to have a firearm in on your own land, place of business, or home, but you must obtain a Firearm Owner's Identification Card from the State. In Chicago, you must also register the weapon with the City. Recent developments in gun law cases, such as District of Columbia v. Heller, McDonald v. Chicago, and NRA v. Chicago have changed this to a degree. Registering a firearm in Chicago has gone from nearly impossible to difficult.
In addition to firearms offenses, there are a wide variety of statutes that cover other weapons, such as dirks, billy clubs, switch blade knives, etc. Not every knife or weapon is illegal to possess, but it has been the experience of attorney Steven R. Hunter that if the police find a knife or other weapon on a person they are arresting for some other reason, they will often file a weapons offense.
Handling weapons violations cases throughout Illinois, with a strong focus on Northern Illinois and Chicago, criminal defense lawyers for our firm handle many different types of weapons cases, including but not limited to the following:
There are many methods that our Chicago criminal defense lawyers use to win weapons violation cases. The approach to each weapons violation arrest will depend on the specifics of the case. However, here are a few common defenses used for weapons violation cases.
These cases are examples of the work we have done in defending those who have been accused of weapons violations. Please be aware that every case is unique and every client has special circumstances. It is unethical for an attorney to guarantee any particular outcome.