Articles Tagged with chicago gun laws

quentin-kemmel-445082-copy-300x200As controversy surrounding gun violence and the Second Amendment ramps up across the country, both the federal and state governments are feeling pressure to crack down with tighter gun regulations. From the outside, Illinois appears to be ahead of the curve. Historically, Illinois boasts some of the strictest gun control laws in the United States. Illinois is one of seven states that requires permits or licenses in order to buy any class of firearm, along with California, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Massachusetts, and New Jersey. Furthermore, and maybe more surprisingly, Illinois is one of only five states that require a waiting period to buy any type of firearm. According to The Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, which tracks gun laws nationwide, Illinois earned a “B+” for its gun laws. However, California scored even better than Illinois, earning a grade of “A” with what are considered to be the strictest gun laws in the country.

The Illinois gun laws are largely attributed to the high volume of crimes committed with firearms in and around the Chicagoland area. From an outsider’s perspective, the number of crimes committed with guns in Chicago in comparison to the strict requirements for ownership do not add up. However, it is important to note that several surrounding states, including Indiana, have some of the weakest firearm laws in the country. Chicago’s proximity to these states makes it easier to bypass the Illinois regulations and obtain illegal firearms.

In Chicago, statistics show that homicides account for a large number of crimes committed with a firearm. After taking a closer look, it would seem that an overwhelming majority of homicides committed with a firearm come at the hands of repeat gun offenders.

sawyer-bengtson-279792-copy-200x300Chicago law makes a distinction between merely possessing a firearm illegally and using a legal firearm for illegal purposes. If the crime is of unlawful shooting whilst in possession of an illegal firearm, the penalties are increased. This is because it is considered to be an aggravating factor to use an illegal firearm to commit any crime under the provisions of the handgun law.

To be absolutely clear, a person in Chicago can be prosecuted for both possessing an illegal firearm and using a legal firearm to commit a crime. Because Chicago has been dubbed the “Gun Crime Capital of the World,” the authorities are anxious to ensure that crimes of gun violence are severely punished. That is not to say that Chicago is willing to engage in full gun control.

For example, the illegal possession of a handgun is a Class 4 Felony in Chicago and can carry a term of imprisonment of up to three years. The possession of other firearms is considered to be a Class A misdemeanor, which could lead up to a year in jail as well as a fine of up to $2500. Your lawyers may be able to negotiate a plea to a lesser charge.

quentin-kemmel-445082-copy-300x200A gun owner’s card (FOID) may be confiscated or seized if one is convicted of a felony or becomes a subject of an order of protection. This is why it is crucial to consult an experienced lawyer if you believe you have a legal case. Following a seizure, you will not only need a reliable defense lawyer on your side, but you will also need someone who understands how to protect your gun possession rights.

Police seize firearms from people who fail to follow the law. However, they sometimes face opposition from firearm owners. Currently, gun control advocates are trying to remove firearms from dangerous offenders while avoiding any activity that might offend the rights of a gun owner. This can obviously cause complications between gun control advocates and those who believe in the right to bear arms. Since 1968, it has been a requirement in Illinois to apply a FOID card to own a firearm. Only law enforcement and military members own firearms without FOID cards.

Generally, a FOID card denial occurs if you get convicted of domestic violence, charged with a felony, for those addicted to narcotics, previous patients in a mental health facility in the past five years, mental or intellectually disabled people, or if one is a subject of court restraint order. FOID cards can also be withdrawn if the owner seems to be able to cause harm to others or to him or herself.

antonio-grosz-148540-copy-300x200Chicago has been battling gun crime for a long time and legislation is one of the tools available for tackling it. Legislative instrument number 720 ILCS 5/24-1 summarizes the law as it stands today. Nothing demonstrates the complexity of the issues at hand like the regulation of automatic weapons in Chicago. It is not enough to say that possession of such a firearm is illegal; there must also be specific procedures that determine how the courts are going to handle the various cases that come before them. Existing legislation has tended to focus on controlling the sale, possession ,and use of certain weapons in order to prevent or punish criminal behavior.

For the defense attorneys, this remains a double edged sword. On one hand, a defending attorney is able to challenge the prosecution at any of the detailed procedures for proving criminality. However, the prosecutor can also return the favor by selecting any of the following for attack:

  • Purchase

443px-Chicago_Theatre_2For a long time gun control advocates have been looking for a test locality that would finally confirm to them that access to firearms does not lead to a reduction to crime. Chicago is as good a place as any when it comes to highlighting the contradictions between gun access and crime rates. The first part of this examination must go back to an assessment of whether the gun laws in the state are strict or even stricter than usual when one compares them with the rest of America. Critics are quick to brand the state a Mecca of gun laws whereas state officials are at pains to present their interventions as not only being sensible, but ultimately being essential to the maintenance of good order within the state. As is often his way, Donald Trump has opted to strip down the complex arguments into a sound byte for his presidential campaign, calling Chicago a “disaster” with the “single toughest gun laws.”

Keeping the Guns Away from Trigger-Happy People

The rationale for the Chicago gun laws was to ensure that nobody had access to guns so that they would not end up shooting one another. Unfortunately, criminals have a tendency not to follow the law, so they went ahead and secured guns illegally. As a consequence, Chicago still has one of the highest levels of gun violence despite the fact that the legislature there has done everything in its power to limit access to guns. Those who favor a liberal approach to gun ownership rules argue that the best remedy is to allow every law-abiding citizen to own a gun so that they can fight back when the criminals attack. By contrast, those who are of the view that there should be significant gun control argue that all this would achieve is a war of attrition in which the public and criminals bought more and more guns. There is no shortage of shooting incidents in Chicago to support or dispute any of the standpoints that are mentioned above.

POLICE OFFICER-SIDEARMThe city of Chicago has enacted some of the toughest gun laws in the United States in an attempt to control the city’s notoriously high rates of violent crime. Measures that they could not legislate to the satisfaction of the city council and Chicago police department without running afoul of the United States Constitution, politicians got around by making ownership restrictions so onerous that the average citizen could not, for practical purposes, legally own firearms anyway. Despite cautions from pro-gun groups and civil libertarians, Chicago’s city government had to learn for itself that strict gun control laws only prevent the law-abiding from possessing guns.

Legal Challenges

While the city leadership in Chicago seemed to think it would be acceptable to simply ignore Federal laws and the constitution of the United States, by practical effect or force of law, legal challenges have since worked their way through the system, and the United States Supreme Court has struck down a number of the significant illegal policies that the city has attempted to push on the citizens of Chicago. Gun stores are again conducting business within city limits, and concealed carry licenses are being issued. While this may seem initially to be a benefit for the residents of Chicago, it has caused some issues, as well.