An Illinois law prohibiting the carrying of a taser or stun gun in public was ruled unconstitutional by the Illinois Supreme Court on March 21, 2019. The court declared that a taser or stun gun has the same essential function as a handgun for self-defense and therefore merits similar protection under the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
The law at issue, 720 ILCS 5/24-1(2)(a), states that a person commits the crime of Unlawful Use of Weapons (UUW) when he carries a taser or stun gun in public or in a private automobile. Another state law, 430 ILCS 66, permits Concealed Carry License (CCL) holders to carry a handgun but does not specifically permit carrying of a taser or stun gun. Thus, the UUW statute acts as a total ban on the carrying of a taser or stun gun and violates the Second Amendmen right to bear arms.
For those unfamiliar, a stun gun is a device that must be pressed to another person’s body to deliver a non-lethal electric shock. In contrast, a civilian taser can work from as far as 15 feet away but is more effective around five feet. It shoots two probes connected to the device by wires that deliver a shock for up to about 30 seconds.
How Will Illinois Law Change Regarding Tasers and Stun Guns?
When a state law is declared unconstitutional , the Illinois legislature typically responds by modifying the law to comply with the court’s ruling. Three laws likely to be affected are the UUW law, the CCL law, and the Firearm Owners Identification Card (FOID) Act, 430 ILCS 65.
FOID Law: The FOID Act already allows for the acquisition of a stun gun or taser by FOID card holders but does not address public possession of such devices.
The FOID act also reserves to the state the following “exclusive powers and functions” which cannot be superseded by stricter municipal laws:
• Transportation of any firearm and ammunition by FOID card holders;
• Regulation, licensing, possession, and registration of handguns and handgun ammunition; and
• Regulation of the possession or ownership of assault weapons.
The Illinois legislature may or may not reserve regulation of tasers and stun guns as exclusive powers and functions of the state.
CCL Law: The legislature will most likely want to regulate who can and cannot carry a taser or stun gun. One likely option is to modify the Concealed Carry Licensed Law to make it legal for a CCL holder to carry a taser or stun gun. Given that a firearms safety course and a shooting proficiency test are currently required to obtain a CCL for a handgun, similar training would presumably be required for to obtain a CCL for a taser or stun gun. Organizations concerned about firearms deaths might even be in favor of encouraging people to carry tasers or stun guns in place of handguns, given that tasers and stun guns generally inflict less damage than a firearm.
UUW Law: The current UUW law makes it a Class A misdemeanor to carry a taser or stun gun, punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $2,500. The UUW law will likely need to be modified to allow the carrying of a taser or stun gun by either FOID or CCL holders. The UUW law has been modified this way before when Illinois legalized the carrying of switchblade knives by FOID card holders in August 2017.
Will County Weapons Defense Lawyer
If you have been charged with unlawful carry or possession of a knife, firearm, or other weapon, talk to a Will County weapons defense lawyer as soon as possible. The Law Offices of Jack L. Zaremba respond to calls 24/7 and we will aggressively defend you against any weapons-related charges. Call 815-740-4025 for a free consultation.