Articles Tagged with weapons charges in Chicago

diana-feil-226524-copy-200x300It is a sad fact, but it is still a true one: Gun violence in Chicago, Illinois is steadily climbing higher and higher. The amount of gun crimes taking place in the city is reaching what some consider to be an epidemic level, making residents feel fearful and unsafe. Meanwhile, there are two opposing camps that are warring over the best way to deal with the gun crime rates in the Windy City: Those who feel that more gun control is needed, and those who feel like less is needed. With gun violence on the rise and crime rates at unpleasant numbers, it is making dealing with the law itself increasingly difficult.

The Second Amendment

Until recently, guns could not even be purchased inside of Chicago. The local laws banned the sale of guns within the city limits. However, in 2016, this law was ruled as unconstitutional. Strong advocates of the Second Amendment were thrilled, but those in favor of gun control were not quite so happy with the outcome. Whatever the case, it became a fact of life: Guns were easier to obtain in Chicago. There is little evidence at the moment that gun laws were being broken either before or after this occurred, so the jury is still out on any strong connection.

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

800px-Seized_firearms-300x200One of the most common crimes in Chicago is that of the unlawful discharge of a firearm. This article focuses on some of the aggravating and mitigating features that might influence the sentencing process. It is important for the attorney to note that some of these features are precisely the points of argument that might be used to challenge a finding of guilt or sow seeds of reasonable doubt amongst members of the jury (see the procedures in the Gerardo Hernandez–Rodriguez case). Generally speaking, recklessness without malicious intent is treated more leniently than in situations where the defendant has deliberately gone out of his or her way to use a firearm to commit another crime.

Chicago remains one of the harshest when it comes to gun laws, even though gun crime continues to rise. For the courts all that this trend has achieved is to increase the level of aggression amongst lawyers on both sides of the case. One area of particular interest is the level of injury compared to the original intent of the assailant. Shooting in the air is considerably less serious than shooting at a crowd. Typically, the aggravated form of the crime is automatically upgraded to a felony, which significantly increases the risk of long term custody.

Key Issues in the Pre-Trial Phase

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: