Get out your map of Illinois and draw a line around Chicago, Cook County, and the surrounding towns. The rest of the state might as well be a completely separate political entity when it comes to firearms. We all know that the laws pertaining to legal gun ownership in Illinois are quite onerous, but in these areas, we add an additional layer of restrictions to the already harsh laws. In 2013, Illinois passed the Concealed Carry Act, which clearly stated that the laws pertaining to gun regulations would be strictly within the control of state law and future contradictory local laws would be preempted. Local governments were given ten days to issue firearm restrictions which would remain in place after preemption went into effect. The race was on and the cities and counties in and around Chicago that did not already have further restrictions on guns created laws that were more burdensome and limiting, restricting the types of guns and ammunition that were considered legal under the state laws.
Although Illinois state law has no restrictions on modern sports rifles (commonly referred to in the media as “Assault Weapons”) or magazine capacity, some local governments issued such restrictions. The following are the most concerning:
Cook County (which includes Chicago) prohibits rifles with fixed or detachable magazines exceeding 10 rounds, handguns with magazines of 10 rounds or greater, box-type detachable magazines with a capacity over 10 rounds, semiautomatic rifles, as well as AR or AK pattern receivers.
Chicago prohibits collapsible, folding, or thumbhole stocks and magazines that can exceed 15 rounds (keep in mind that Chicago is within Cook County, so in reality the limits for magazine capacity is 10). Accessories capable of functioning as a protruding grip that can be held by the non-trigger hand are also prohibited. Laser sights are also illegal in the city of Chicago. Residents of Chicago must report the “destruction, loss or theft” of a firearm “within 48 hours of when the person knows, or should have known, of such destruction, loss or theft.” (Section 8-20-280 Municipal Code of Chicago). In a home where a person younger than 18 is present, all guns must be secured with a trigger lock, stored in a locked container, or secured to the body of the legal owner.
Chicago and the surrounding suburbs of Cook County strictly follow the laws as stated in the Illinois Concealed Carry Act, 430 ILCS 66. Please keep in mind when visiting the wonderful entertainment venues in and around Chicago that the restricted (Gun-Free Zones) will come into play. If you are planning to attend a sporting event such as a Cubs game, White Sox game, Bulls, Blackhawks, or a Northwestern University sporting event, pursuant to 430 ILCS 66/65(17), bringing a handgun into the stadium would be a violation. If you would like to visit the world-famous Lincoln Park Zoo or one of the many museums in Chicago, you would also be prohibited from bringing a handgun onto the property. See 430 ILCS 66/65(21).
Be extremely careful when dining in any of the restaurants in Chicago. If the establishment serves alcohol and more than 50% of the gross receipts are from the sale of alcohol, guns are prohibited per 430 ILCS 66/65(9). Chicago and its surrounding suburbs vehemently oppose any sort of open carry. The mere sight of a gun in a public setting could lead to an arrest and be considered a violation of the Concealed Carry Act 430 ILCS 66.
I urge you to check with your local town or county ordinances if you live anywhere within 100 miles of Chicago or Cook County. The laws in these areas tend to be more restrictive than in the rest of the state. It makes no sense to me that in the more violent, high-crime areas, law-abiding gun owners are being stymied in every way when it comes to defending themselves and their families.
For any questions regarding self-defense in Illinois’ cities, contact U.S. LawShield and ask to speak to your Independent Program Attorney.
The preceding should not be construed as legal advice nor the creation of an attorney-client relationship. This is not an endorsement or solicitation for any service. Your situation may be different, so please contact your attorney regarding your specific circumstances. Because the laws, judges, juries, and prosecutors vary from location to location, similar or even identical facts and circumstances to those described in this presentation may result in significantly different legal outcomes. This presentation is by no means a guarantee or promise of any particular legal outcome, positive, negative, or otherwise.