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The Myth of Chicago’s “Lax” Gun Laws

Friday, September 16, 2016

The Myth of Chicago’s “Lax” Gun Laws

The escalating murder rate in Chicago has given rise to a new claim – that Chicago gun laws are lax, weak, and ineffective. 

Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson recently argued that “[i]f we had the gun laws in Chicago that L.A. and New York have, we would see our violent crime cut in half.”  New York Police Commissioner Bill Bratton repeated the remark, declaring that Chicago’s problem “has to do with gun laws that just don't meet the reality of what's going on the streets.”  Even Dwyane Wade of the Chicago Bulls recently stated that “[t]here's other cities that have way tougher gun laws. We have weak gun laws and we have to do a better job of being leaders.”

The reality is that Illinois has some of the toughest gun laws in the nation. Indeed, even the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence ranks Illinois 8th among the ten states with the strongest gun laws and awarded it a B+ rating in 2015.

Under Illinois’ universal background check law, residents must show a state-issued Firearm Owners Identification (FOID) card or concealed carry permit for all purchases of firearms or ammunition, whether from a licensed dealers or private seller.  Lost or stolen guns must be reported to the police within 72 hours.

Illinois is also one of only four states that imposes a waiting period on the purchase of all firearms – 72 hours for a handgun and 24 hours for a rifle or shotgun.  Automatic firearms, short-barreled shotguns, and suppressors are prohibited entirely.  Even muzzleloaders and black powder guns are considered firearms and subject to the background check requirement.

Illinois concealed carry laws are also among the most stringent in the country. Applicants are required to take a 16-hour training course – the longest in the nation.  While technically a “shall issue” state, law enforcement agencies still have limited discretion to object to an individual being granted a license. Illinois also refuses to recognize any other state’s concealed carry license.

While local restrictions on handguns are preempted under state law, Illinois state law recognizes any local “assault weapons” ban adopted before July 20, 2013.  The result is a patchwork of laws in 23 jurisdictions where a gun otherwise legal to own in some parts of the state is prohibited.  Any person traveling through the Chicago area with a firearm must carefully consider their route, especially if their trip takes them through a jurisdiction where Chicago, Cook County, or municipal restrictions have them unintentionally violating one of the local ordinances.  

In light of the above, there are many words that can be used to describe Illinois gun laws, but “lax” and “weak” are not among them.  This argument has everything to do with getting the public to focus on an irrelevant, but convenient, “answer” to Chicago’s ever-present and growing violent crime, and nothing to do with actually solving the problem.

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Louisiana: House Passes Constitutional Carry, Now Headed to Gov. Landry’s Desk for His Signature

Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Louisiana: House Passes Constitutional Carry, Now Headed to Gov. Landry’s Desk for His Signature

Today, the House voted 75-28 to pass Senate Bill 1, the NRA-backed constitutional carry legislation that passed the Senate last week.

Louisiana: Constitutional Carry Advances to the House Floor – Final Vote Imminent

Monday, February 26, 2024

Louisiana: Constitutional Carry Advances to the House Floor – Final Vote Imminent

Today, the House Administration of Criminal Justice Committee passed the NRA-backed constitutional carry legislation, Senate Bill 1, by a 10-3 vote. The bill now heads to the House floor for a final vote this week. SB 1 ...

Maine: PETITION: Stand with Maine Gun Retailers

Monday, February 26, 2024

Maine: PETITION: Stand with Maine Gun Retailers

Gun Control groups are launching an all-out assault on the Second Amendment in Maine. Their most recent tactic?

Washington: Two Anti-Gun Bills Advance Through the Legislature

Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Washington: Two Anti-Gun Bills Advance Through the Legislature

On Tuesday, February 27th, HB 2118, the “FFL Killer” passed the Senate, and SB 5444, "sensitive places" expansion, passed the House. Both bills were amended in the second chamber and now must return to their ...

Maine: Gun Registries, Red Flags, Universal Background Checks and more.

Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Maine: Gun Registries, Red Flags, Universal Background Checks and more.

It has been a busy week for Maine’s anti-gun politicians. From releasing a new bill that would implement Universal Background Checks and Red Flag laws in Maine, to Rep. Jared Golden (ME-02) pushing for a ...

Minnesota: Two Anti Gun Bills Scheduled to be Heard in Committee

Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Minnesota: Two Anti Gun Bills Scheduled to be Heard in Committee

On Thursday February 28th at 10:30 am, House File 601 and House File 4300 will be heard in Room 200 of the State Office Building by the Public Safety Finance and Policy Committee and the Children and ...

South Dakota: Enhanced Conceal Carry Bill Passed in Committee

Tuesday, February 27, 2024

South Dakota: Enhanced Conceal Carry Bill Passed in Committee

Yesterday, Senate Bill 203 was passed in the House Judiciary Committee with a vote of 11-1 and will be heard on the House floor today, February 27th. The bill allows gun owners with enhanced concealed ...

Minnesota: "Assault Weapons" Ban Referred to the Committee on Public Safety Finance and Policy

Wednesday, February 14, 2024

Minnesota: "Assault Weapons" Ban Referred to the Committee on Public Safety Finance and Policy

On Monday, House File 3570 was referred to the House Committee on Public Safety Finance and Policy and would ban so called “assault weapons” by expanding upon an existing statute used to define these firearms. The bill ...

Louisiana: Senate Passes Constitutional Carry - Take Action Now!

Thursday, February 22, 2024

Louisiana: Senate Passes Constitutional Carry - Take Action Now!

Today, the Senate passed Senate Bill 1, NRA backed constitutional carry legislation, on a 28-10 vote. The bill will next be considered in the House. Please contact your state representative and ask them to SUPPORT Senate Bill 1.

Georgia: Gun Owner Credit Card Data Privacy Bill Passes House

Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Georgia: Gun Owner Credit Card Data Privacy Bill Passes House

On Tuesday, February 27th, House Bill 1018 was passed in the House by a margin of 106-60. HB 1018 prohibits the use of firearm/ammunition specific merchant category codes by payment processors. 

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Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.