Illinois CCL Holders Use Concealed Carry Handguns in Self-Defense

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Since Illinois legalized the concealed carry of handguns in 2014, there have been at least 40 shootings by concealed carry license (CCL) holders reported in the media . More than half of those shootings involved self-defense or defense of others in response to a crime in progress. A review of these cases provides useful insights to all firearm owners in Illinois who may someday need to use their gun in self-defense or find themselves charged with unlawful use of a weapon .

Summary of Illinois Shootings with Concealed Carry Handguns

Defense of others. In at least four instances, CCL holders have come to the aid of their neighbors or total strangers:

• While driving through downtown Chicago, a CCL holder saw three people wearing surgical masks attacking a man. The CCL holder stopped his car, got out, walked toward the attackers, and pulled out his gun, effectively scaring them away.

• An Uber driver stopped in Logan Square saw a gunman firing at a group of people who were walking in front of his car. The driver, a CCL holder, fired at the gunman several times and wounded him.

• An Oswego firearms instructor heard screams in his apartment building, grabbed his rifle, and ran down the hall. He confronted a man who was stabbing another man, effectively scaring off the attacker.

• In a store in the Gage Park neighborhood, an armed robber demanded money from the female clerk behind the counter. When another female employee approached, the gunman told her to go to the back of the store. Fearing for the women’s safety, a male customer in the store pulled his own CCL handgun, fired, and killed the robber.

Defense against armed robbers. More than a dozen shootings have occurred in self-defense during armed robberies. The locations have included a Target store, a McDonald’s, a Chicago church, an auto parts store, a convenience store, a sidewalk, and an ATM. In January 2019, a 25-year-old female CCL holder shot and killed a man who tried to rob her at gunpoint at a Chicago bus stop. The 19-year-old robber had a history of arrests, including one for allegedly attacking or resisting arrest by two police officers during a drug raid.

Carjackings. At least four shootings involved carjackings. In one notable case, a woman was taken hostage in her truck by a stranger with a knife who made her drive to a rural area. She was finally able to grab her handgun out of her truck’s center console and the man fled.

Home invasions. At least two intruders who broke into homes have been shot by the homeowner.

Justifiable Self-Defense vs. Assault/Battery with a Firearm

Anyone who considers using a firearm in self-defense needs to be sure of their actions and aware of the potential consequences. If the police and prosecutor do not believe you acted in self-defense, you can be charged with a crime such as:

• Aggravated assault with a firearm if you shoot without hitting anyone; this is a Class 4 felony, the lowest class of felony.

• Aggravated battery with a firearm, if you fired and caused an injury; this is a Class X felony, the most serious class of felony.

Several CCL holders have been charged with reckless discharge of a firearm (a Class 4 felony) or reckless conduct (a Class A misdemeanor) when they fired their handgun inappropriately. None of these were considered to be self-defense cases.

Will County Firearms Defense Lawyer

If you are involved in a shooting, whether in self-defense or defense of others, contact a Will County firearms defense lawyer immediately to safeguard your rights and interests. Call the Law Offices of Jack L. Zaremba, day or night, at 815-740-4025 for a free initial consultation.