Facing weapons charges in Illinois can be an extremely anxiety-inducing experience, especially for a first-time offender. While many weapons charges occur when a person possesses a weapon unlawfully or carries a concealed weapon without a proper license, some weapons charges can occur when a person is permitted to own and carry a gun but does so on specific types of property. In other words, it can be completely lawful for a person to possess a particular weapon, and that person may even have a concealed carry license. However, if that person is found with a firearm in specific public areas or other spaces in Chicago, she or he can face serious gun charges.
In short, you can face weapons charges if you violate what is known as location restrictions under Illinois law. We want to give you more information about location restrictions and how they apply to individuals who are permitted to carry firearms and may even have concealed carry licenses.
Unlawful Use of Weapons in Particular Places
In some places, it is simply unlawful under Illinois law to carry a firearm (720 ILCS 5/24-1). For example, it is unlawful to carry a firearm (and several other weapons) in any of the following places according to the statute:
- Any place licensed to sell alcohol; and
- Any public gathering that charges admission (except for a public demonstration or lecture involving unloaded firearms, or an auction or raffle of firearms).
It is also unlawful to board a commercial flight with a firearm, even if you lawfully own the firearm, and even if you have a concealed carry license (720 ILCS 5/29D). Illinois used to prohibit the possession of firearms in public areas within 1,000 feet of a public park, but the Illinois Supreme Court ruled that location restriction to be unlawful and in violation of a person’s constitutional rights (People v. Chairez (2018)). Unlike other states, Illinois does not restrict the possession of a firearm in places like sports arenas, hospitals, and places of worship.
Concealed Carry Licenses and Location Restrictions
Even though you have a concealed carry license, that does not mean that you can carry a concealed firearm wherever you want. Under Illinois’ Firearm Concealed Carry Act (430 ILCS 66/), the following are all location restrictions for concealed firearms. In other words, it is unlawful to carry a concealed weapon in many locations, including but not limited to:
- Elementary or secondary school;
- Childcare facility;
- Court buildings;
- Government buildings;
- Correctional institutions;
- On public transportation;
- In establishments serving alcohol;
- Public gatherings on public property;
- Public playgrounds or parks;
- Colleges and universities;
- Gambling locations;
- Sports arenas or stadiums;
- Public libraries;
- Zoos; and
Contact a Weapon Charges Defense Lawyer for Assistance
If you are facing weapons charges, you could be facing significant penalties if you are convicted. If you made a mistake and unlawfully possessed a weapon in a location where concealed carry is not allowed, or if you were wrongfully accused, an experienced Chicago weapon charges defense attorney can begin working on a defense strategy tailored to your case. Contact the Law Offices of Jonathan Minkus to learn more about the criminal defense services we provide in Illinois.