Articles Tagged with Illinois Gun Laws

matt-popovich-60437-copy-300x162A man was charged with attempted murder after a shootout in South Shore on the night of the Chicago mayoral election. 38-year-old Flamingo Jones was charged with attempted first-degree murder of a police officer. As stated by Cook County prosecutors, on February 26th at 7:30 p.m., police in plain clothes sitting in an unmarked cruiser were investigating an individual wanted on an arrest warrant. During the investigation, they saw Jones on the 7400 block of South Bennett Avenue.

Jones fled on foot after seeing the officers, who were wearing ballistic vests and badges that identified them as police. The officers gave chase, with one of them catching up to Jones. The officer saw Jones holding a firearm and ordered Jones to drop the weapon. Jones continued to run, jumping over a fence with the gun in hand.

According to Assistant State’s Attorney Jamie Santini, the officer feared for his life and discharged his weapon but did not strike Jones. As he emerged from an alley, Jones aimed his weapon toward the officer, at which point the officer fired at Jones again. Jones fell to the ground and shot at the officer. He then fired at uniformed police as they arrived on the scene. The uniformed officers returned fire, shooting Jones in the feet.

david-von-diemar-745969-unsplash-copy-200x300Any case involving the use of a deadly weapon like a knife, shotgun, or other firearm is taken quite seriously in Chicago. In 2016, there were over 1,400 deaths in Illinois that were the result of firearms. The use of a deadly weapon during the commission of a crime inevitably increases the severity of the sentence given to the accused. This will include criminal acts of domestic violence, assault, rape, and sexual assault.

A criminal defense attorney in Chicago can discuss the laws that relate to weapons charges and provide counsel about the ideal strategy for your defense.

New Gun Laws in Illinois

A Chicago man was charged with aggravated battery with a firearm, reckless discharge of a firearm and vehicular invasion following a shooting at a Cook County Preserve soccer field on Labor Day that injured one other man. The alleged shooter then tried to flee the scene by stealing a vehicle.

Chicago Defense to AggraOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAvated Discharge of a Firearm

A person commits the Illinois crime of aggravated discharge of a firearm if he “discharges a firearm in the direction of another person.” In this case, we would first challenge the validity of the defendant’s identification as the shooter, looking first at whether gunpowder residue was found on the defendant’s hands or clothes, or whether his fingerprints were found on the weapon.

We would also challenge any eyewitness descriptions of the shooter. There were approximately 2,000 people present at the soccer game, given the chaos that ensued after the shots were fired, eyewitnesses would have difficulty accurately describing the shooter, let alone determining who fired the weapon. Another important point concerns whether the eyewitness descriptions of the shooter match the defendant. If the witness descriptions do not match, it would indicate a different person was responsible for the gun’s discharge.

Assuming eyewitnesses could positively identify the defendant as the individual who discharged the firearm, or if gunpowder residue shows the defendant fired the gun, a successful defense would require a thorough examination of the weapon to determine whether discharge was due to a malfunction. If the weapon discharged due to malfunction, the defendant cannot be charged or convicted of reckless discharge. David L. Freidberg’s team of forensic experts would examine all of the evidence surrounding discharge of the weapon to determine whether another explanation exists for its discharging.

Chicago Defense to Aggravated Battery

A person commits the Illinois charge of aggravated battery based on use of a firearm if he discharges that firearm and causes injury to another person. In this case, we would employ many of the same defenses as in the aggravated discharge of a firearm: challenge the identification of the shooter, as well as any evidence indicating he was actually the shooter. Forensic experts would thoroughly examine the defendant for evidence of gunpowder residue on his hands or clothes (or review police reports on these findings) to determine if the prosecution can prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, the defendant fired the weapon.

If the evidence proves the defendant did in fact fire the weapon, we would again examine whether there is another reason the weapon discharged, other than through the defendant’s intent. A charge of aggravated battery based on use of a firearm requires the defendant “knowingly” discharge the weapon. If the weapon malfunctioned, he did not knowingly discharge the weapon.  Continue reading

By now almost everyone has heard about the Chicago unlawful use of weapon statute revisions.   These are also referred to as Chicago gun charges.

After a protracted legal battle, Illinois has adopted legislation to permit individuals to carry a concealed gun, but the permits likely will not be issued until 2014.  Illinois takes its place as the final state in the nation to approve a law to allow citizens to carry a concealed gun, but it has not been a smooth process and it may not be over yet.

The current process began in December of 2012, when the United States Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit ruled that Illinois’ ban on concealed carry was unconstitutional in response to a challenge to the State’s unlawful use of a weapon statute by gun rights advocate Mary Shepard.  Pursuant to the holding of the 7th Circuit, the Illinois Legislature had until June 9, 2013 to enact legislation that permitted people to carry concealed guns.  The Legislature was granted a one month extension and the Senate and House drafted and approved legislation, which subsequently was significantly modified by Governor Pat Quinn’s amendatory veto.  However, with a Senate vote of 41-17 and a House vote of 77-31, the Legislature attained the three-fifths majority necessary to override the veto and enact the law.

The Legislature was under intense pressure to come up with some type of acceptable law before the deadline had past due to the uncertainty of what would happen with no regulation in place.  Concealed carry supporters claimed that they would be able to carry concealed any type of gun anywhere without any restrictions.  Gun control advocates claimed it would be up to local governments to craft and implement restrictions, which could be very strict.  The Legislature attempted to reach a compromise with the legislation that was passed, allowing a very permissive process for gun owners to be able to obtain a permit to carry a concealed gun while enacting prohibitions about where these guns could be taken.  Locations where concealed carry is not allowed include schools, parks, libraries, and buses and trains that are part of the mass transit system.While the Legislature was wrangling with language and restrictions on a person’s right to carry a concealed gun, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan filed a request with the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals for a rehearing en banc, specifically asking that the entire 7th Circuit reconsider the decision.  The 7th Circuit rejected Attorney General Madigan’s request and Ms. Madigan did not appeal the decision to the United States Supreme Court.

Under the law passed by the Legislature, the Illinois State Police have 180 days to organize a program to process applications for concealed carry permits and an additional 90 days in which to get all application forms processed.  In order to obtain a permit, an applicant must:

  • Possess a Firearm Owner’s Identification card;
  • Have passed a background check;
  • Have undergone a gun-safety training program of at least sixteen (16) hours; and
  • Paid a fee of $150.00.

Although the State of Illinois now has enacted legislation that dictates the provisions for being permitted to carry a concealed gun and this law is far less restrictive than similar laws in other states, including New York where law enforcement personnel have the discretion to deny permits, gun rights advocates are not happy yet.  These advocates believe that the nine (9) months that it will take for the first applicants to obtain their carry permits is a continuation of the unconstitutional ban on carrying concealed guns.  Therefore, Mary Shepard, whose lawsuit was the impetus behind the Illinois concealed carry law, has gone back to federal court to force an immediate issuance of the permits.  Some local governments are in agreement with this position and have announced that they will not prosecute those local citizens who are discovered with a concealed gun.  Attorney General Lisa Madigan has filed a motion to dismiss Ms. Shepard’s case as moot because the requisite legislation has been enacted.  Now, it is a matter of waiting to see whether the courts will give Illinois law enforcement a little time to get an effective system in place.  This will greatly affect those facing Chicago gun charges.
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