Articles Tagged with self defense

andreas-weiland-252613-copy-1-300x200It is not only Chicago that is grappling with the issue of self-defense in the law. The public interpretations of the law vary considerably, and some of them are not strictly accurate. This is one of those issues that has the power to raise other polarizing matters such as racial disparities when encountering the criminal justice system. On the other hand, there is a legitimate interest in ensuring that criminals cannot terrorize the wider population on account of the fact that they are the ones with the guns. If they are genuinely frightened for their lives, most reasonable people would agree that property owners have a right to defend themselves. This self-defense argument can go right up to the case of justified killings.

Of course, we cannot always predict what is in someone’s mind. For example, a racist person may shoot any black person they see on their doorstep without any genuine fear. That is when the courts are left in a dilemma. The person may say that they were frightened, but that may mask their true intention. It also does not help that the moment such cases come to the media attention, America is once again divided along class and racial lines. All of a sudden, you have very successful Go-Fund-Me campaigns for the suspect, which makes a mockery of the system and gives the impression that America is an incurably racist society.

Private Property and Private Rights

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Multiple murders on the streets of Chicago on any given weekend now seem to be a fact of life. The murder rate in Chicago has increased by 13% since 2013; shootings not ending in death were up 40% during the first three months of 2015. It is little wonder that Chicago residents do not feel safe on the streets, or even in their own homes. (See Chicago Tribune) So do you know your rights regarding self-defense, or defense of your property? If threatened with bodily harm or death, do you have a duty to retreat before defending yourself, or can you “stand your ground”? How much force can you use to prevent a “trespass,” reasonable or deadly? What is reasonable force and what is deadly force, and in what circumstances is it alright to use either?

Answers to These Questions are a Phone Call Away

A little while back, there was a lot of controversy over “stand your ground” laws after an incident that occurred in Florida. An aggressor-turned-victim was killed in an act of assault by another who claimed “self-defense.” This incident created such a fury throughout the nation, partly because of the racial component of the incident, and partly because people began to wonder at what point can they be arrested and tried for murder in a case such as this. States scrambled to take a second look at their “self-defense” laws. New laws were enacted, and some were reviewed and revised to fit the ever increasing violence in our overcrowded urban areas.

A man was fatally shot by a customer as he tried to rob a business in Gage Park this past weekend. The man who was shot entered a currency exchange store, withdrew a gun, and demanded money. A customer then withdrew his own firearm and shot the alleged robber multiple times, and the man died. The alleged perpetrator had a long history of criminal charges for robbery, and the person who shot him did have a concealed carry permit and an FOID card.  Because the man who shot was legally carrying a firearm, the Chicago police have indicated he will not likely be charged with a crime. Obviously, understanding what you need to do to legally carry a concealed weapon in Illinois can make the difference in a real life situation as to whether you will later face criminal charges, so it is critical to know the law.

Firearm Concealed Carry Act

On July 9, 2013, Illinois adopted the Firearm Concealed Carry Act, which allows those with a valid license to carry a concealed weapon in public. This law was passed in large part in response to the high crime rate in Chicago and the surrounding area, as people began demanding the right to protect themselves in public. The crime rate is indeed lower since the Firearm Concealed Carry Act was passed. Illinois is a “shall issue” state, which means that the Department of State Police are required to issue a concealed handgun license as long as the applicant: