The Penalties Associated With The Violation Of The Illinois Concealed Weapons Statute
Interviewer: What are some of the penalties that someone might be facing from minor to the maximum?
Jerald Novak: The minimum in most cases is officer’s discretion. Part of the reason that officers will have varying levels of discretion is because the statute again is written so poorly. For example, the Illinois Concealed Carry Licensing Act starts out with the phrase that, “A concealed firearm shall be mostly or partially concealed”. Let’s just look at that statement, let’s cut it in little pieces. “Mostly or partially concealed”, let’s look at the word “Partially”. What percentage of the firearm needs to be covered to comply with partially concealed? Well, logic would dictate that even 1 per cent would be partially concealed but the statement is completely concealed or partially concealed. Well, completely concealed meaning the 100 per cent, and actually the phrase is “Mostly concealed”, so I correct myself.
What Can be Perfectly Legal in One City Could be Completely Illegal in the Next City
What percentage do we assign to have mostly concealed? I know that would be probably 51 per cent because that would be most of the firearm. So, therein lies the beginning of the problem. So, you’ve got some police officer that may have gotten a phone call from some citizen or some business owner or they may just have been present and somebody’s jacket swept open and they spot a firearm, are they going to arrest that person? Your guess is as good as mine. It really depends on what city or town or village or municipality they’re in and if they’re a local police or a state police. It’s also going to depend on the attitude of their watch commander and the policy of their chief and the desires of the city council and what the mayor wants. What can be perfectly legal in one city, town or village could be completely illegal in the next city, town or village next door.
Often the Police Will Realize that the Permit Holder is a Law Abiding Citizen Not Looking for a Problem
This law is so poorly written, it becomes so subjective that it’s subject to the winds of the interpretation of the police officer or the watch commander or the chief or the city council or the mayor. Officially, there’s no such thing as the street adjustment but again, I’ve handled a lot of these cases. In many instances, the police will realize that the permit holder is a law abiding citizen, not looking for a problem and so often a conversation and what I refer to as a street adjustment can happen assuming you have a good attitude when they approach you. The statute, however, puts the minimum penalty at a petty offense, which means a money fine only, and moves it all the way up to a class A misdemeanor, which is up to one year in the county jail and fine up to $2,500.
The Only Benefit of the Statute is that as Long as You Have a Concealed Carry License , the Police Have to Charge You Within that Act
There’s a pretty wide variety depending upon what you are accused of doing. The only bright spot in the statute is that so long as you have a concealed carry license, they have to charge you within that act and they can’t really go outside of that act and go to the criminal code, which puts a much higher level of penalty on carrying a concealed firearm without a concealed carry license. So, the act again goes from petty offense to class A misdemeanor. Let me mention, in some instances, there are enhancements which could bump it up into the felony range.
Threatening Somebody With a Firearm Can Result in Felony Charges for a CCL Holder
Interviewer: What are some of those enhancements?
Jerald Novak: If you had a prior violation, if you go on beyond the concealed carry statute and you’ve actually threatened somebody with that firearm and it wasn’t a situation where you’re defending your life, that type of situation.