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Chicago: My Kind of Gun Town

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Concealed Guns In Chicago

Conceal and carry–the legal permission to carry a concealed firearm–is now the law in the Land of Lincoln and in Chicago.

Western states have long allowed such conduct on the part of citizens but for Illinois, and Chicago, in particular, this new legal right is fraught with controversy, misunderstanding, and rightful concern.

Conceal and carry became the law in Illinois in July 2013 on the heels of significant court rulings that set the tone for gun laws in Illinois and the City of Chicago. The right to carry a concealed weapon is not absolute and is in fact, predicated upon meeting numerous firearm training requirements. Interestingly, the law does not allow “open carry” which refers to having a gun in plain sight, such as in a holster. That means, none of us will know who is armed and who is not armed. Gun advocates have long argued that the mystery of not knowing who is or isn’t armed adds to a reduction in personal crimes since a would-be criminal will think twice before committing a crime against a person that could be armed.  This line of thinking does not take into account the incapacitated criminal—by drugs, mental illness, or otherwise—that would likely not be deterred from engaging in a personal crime in a state with a conceal and carry law. People who are doped up or otherwise not thinking clearly will likely not reason through the argument gun advocates make that the target they have set their sights on might have a gun. On the other hand, I am sure there are a number of would-be criminals that might decide to get out of the personal crimes business in a state that allows its citizens to carry concealed guns.

If your concerns are that anyone can go out and now carry a concealed weapon in public, rest assured. First, a person must secure a license to lawfully carry a concealed gun.  Second, the law has some pretty heavy requirements that must be met before a person is issued such a license. And third, law enforcement is allowed to object to any applicant who has submitted for a license. According to a recent Sun-Times story, Cook County law enforcement has objected to 180 license applications and expects to object to another 180 license applications.

The following basics are required of an applicant to meet the eligibility requirements of an Illinois Concealed Carry application:

  • Be 21 or older.
  • Have a valid Firearm Owners Identification card;
  • Not have been convicted of a misdemeanor involving the use or threat of force or violence or have two or more violations related to driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs in the past five years;
  • Not have been in residential or court-ordered drug or alcohol treatment in the past five years;
  • Is not the subject of a pending arrest warrant, prosecution or proceeding for an offense or action that lead to disqualification to own or possess a firearm; and
  • Successfully completes 16 hours of approved firearm training which includes a live shooting test of a concealed firearm consisting of:
  • A minimum of 30 rounds;
  • 10 shots at 5 yards, 7yards, and 10 yards each; and
  • These rounds will be shot a B27 silhouette target requiring a passing score of 70% or better

The law bans guns in a variety of places including schools, government buildings, healthcare facilities, airports, sports stadiums, playgrounds and places that serve alcohol.

Additionally, local businesses and residents also retain the right to prohibit the carrying of a concealed weapon on private property through the use of a firearms prohibition sign.

The landscape of personal safety is now forever changed in Chicago.  It has changed both on the street and in the home where conceal carry license holders store their guns. Responsible gun ownership includes responsible storage so that accidents and death from unintended discharge don’t occur. The law is silent on in-home storage and safety measures except in the case of home daycare providers. If children are present for daycare, such daycare provider must keep their gun in a locked container.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 800 children under 14 were killed in gun accidents from 1999 to 2010. Nearly one in five injury-related deaths in children and adolescents involve firearms. Those are sobering statistics. With the likely rise in gun ownership in Chicago, safe storage of guns in the home seems to be an area that City Council should consider addressing sooner than later.

DISCLAIMER: NOTHING IN THIS BLOG POST IS MEANT TO SERVE AS LEGAL ADVICE, BUT RATHER, IS PROVIDED FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY. DUE TO THE CHANGING NATURE OF THE LAW, ALL INFORMATION CONTAINED HEREIN IS SUBJECT TO CHANGE.


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