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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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Texas: Senate Passes HB 1927

Thursday, May 6, 2021

Texas: Senate Passes HB 1927

Early this evening, after more than 6 hours of debate and discussion on more than two dozen amendments, the Texas Senate passed House Bill 1927, constitutional carry legislation, on an 18-13 vote.

Louisiana: Constitutional Carry Bills Have Now Passed Both Legislative Chambers

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Louisiana: Constitutional Carry Bills Have Now Passed Both Legislative Chambers

Recently, the Louisiana House passed Constitutional Carry legislation, House Bill 596. 

Biden Goes All in On Calls for Extreme Gun Control

News  

Monday, May 3, 2021

Biden Goes All in On Calls for Extreme Gun Control

President Biden dropped any pretense at “moderation” in his first address to a joint session of Congress since assuming the presidency.

Leaked ATF Rule Would Upend Firearm Industry

News  

Monday, April 26, 2021

Leaked ATF Rule Would Upend Firearm Industry

On April 20th, The Reload, published what appears to be a leaked draft of an ATF proposed rule.

South Carolina AG Wilson Wins Against Columbia Gun Control

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

South Carolina AG Wilson Wins Against Columbia Gun Control

On May 4th, the South Carolina Court of Common Pleas ruled in favor of Attorney General Alan Wilson, agreeing that the City of Columbia’s anti-gun ordinances violate the state’s preemption law.

Guide To The Interstate Transportation Of Firearms

Gun Laws  

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Guide To The Interstate Transportation Of Firearms

CAUTION: Federal and state firearms laws are subject to frequent change. This summary is not to be considered as legal advice or a restatement of law.

South Carolina: Constitutional Carry Amendment Fails

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

South Carolina: Constitutional Carry Amendment Fails

Today, the Senate debated adding a constitutional carry amendment to House Bill 3094, the open carry bill. Unfortunately, the amendment failed to be adopted. 

Vermont: Amendment Poses Legal Jeopardy for Citizens Engaged in Self-Defense

Friday, May 7, 2021

Vermont: Amendment Poses Legal Jeopardy for Citizens Engaged in Self-Defense

Legislation introduced this session to address policing took a turn for the worse recently.  It was amended in the Senate and now represents a striking blow to citizens’ right to self-defense. 

South Carolina: Senate Passes Open Carry With Free CWP Amendment

Friday, May 7, 2021

South Carolina: Senate Passes Open Carry With Free CWP Amendment

Yesterday, the Senate voted 28-16 to pass House Bill 3094, the open carry bill. Though the constitutional carry amendment failed, the Senate did manage to adopt an amendment to eliminate the fee for a Concealed Weapons Permit (CWP). ...

North Carolina: House Passes Sheriff-Approved Repeal of Pistol Permit

Thursday, May 6, 2021

North Carolina: House Passes Sheriff-Approved Repeal of Pistol Permit

Yesterday, the House passed House Bill 398, to repeal the pistol permit in favor of the federal NICS background check. It now goes to the Senate for further consideration.

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NRA ILA

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.