Chicago may be the epicenter of gun violence in Illinois, but it is not the only place in the state that experiences serious violent crimes as a result of illegal gun ownership. There were reportedly 1,117 deaths in the state of Illinois caused by guns in 2013. Just over half of all these were ruled homicides (52 percent). Just slightly below that came suicides, accounting for 44 percent of all gun deaths in the state in the same time period.
These staggeringly high numbers are just one reason that many advocate for stricter gun laws regarding the sale, possession, and ownership of a gun in Illinois. The logic goes that if the state was able to reduce the number of guns that are floating around, it would consequently be able to reduce the number of violent crimes perpetrated using such weapons.
A Hotly Contested Issue
Restricting gun ownership, however, has serious implications when considered in light of the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which guarantees all citizens the right to bear arms. Advocates for gun control argue that certain types of guns serve no purpose other than to harm another human being. Critics may counter this argument with the acknowledgment that the Second Amendment makes no stipulation about what types of gun a person may possess. The most important way to deal with gun laws is to understand them. Only when a person has a full comprehension of what the state does and does not allow when it comes to owning and carrying a gun can he or she begin to make an argument against such laws—and to combat charges brought based on an alleged violation of them.
Current Illinois Firearms Laws
All persons wishing to own a firearm in the state of Illinois must first obtain a Firearm Owner’s Identification card (FOID). It is illegal to sell either a firearm or ammunition to anyone who does not possess an FOID—meaning that if you sell a gun online, for example, to someone without seeing their FOID, you may be subject to criminal charges. The state also requires that a person must wait before transferring ownership of a gun to a new owner—24 hours for a long gun (e.g. a rifle or shotgun) and 72 hours for a handgun.
The state of Illinois does allow the concealed carry of handguns, but a person must obtain an additional permit to do so. Concealed carry licenses are issued by the Illinois State Police and there are qualifying criteria that must be met. The state also allows minors under the age of 18 to possess and use firearms, but the Child Access Prevention law prohibits leaving a firearm unlocked and accessible to a person under the age of 14.
Seek Legal Help
Weapons charges can be very serious, so it is important to work with a lawyer who will protect your rights. If you have been charged with the unauthorized possession or use of a firearm, contact an experienced Joliet criminal defense attorney. Call the Law Office of Jack L. Zaremba at 815-740-4025 to schedule your free consultation today.