The Illinois State Rifle Association is urging Land of Lincoln residents to count their ballistic chickens before the concealed carry egg hatches. ISRA’s latest press release [via ammoland] offers four pieces of common sense advice following the 7th Circuit Court’s decision that the right to bear arms means the right to bear arms. They reckon aspiring armed citizens should get their IL FOID (Firearm Owners Identification) card, buy concealed carry firearms and holsters now (before the demand outstrips supply), get safety training and practice, practice, practice (I’m counting that one once). They forgot one thing: get a good lawyer on speed dial. And bone-up on your use-of-force rules . . .
Click here to read the statute (720 ILCS 5/7-1) (from Ch. 38, par. 7-1) Sec. 7-1.”Use of force in defense of person” which states:
(a) A person is justified in the use of force against another when and to the extent that he reasonably believes that such conduct is necessary to defend himself or another against such other’s imminent use of unlawful force. However, he is justified in the use of force which is intended or likely to cause death or great bodily harm only if he reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or another, or the commission of a forcible felony.
As always. it’s down to the DA and the jury to determine “reasonable belief.” Here’s the bad news: for a defensive gun use resulting in a room-temperature perp, Illinois law requires an “affirmative defense.” In other words, you’re guilty until proven innocent.
So, until and unless the Illinois legislature clarifies the law (best case through a “stand your ground” law like Florida’s) and/or defensive gun use becomes an accepted part of Illinois’ legal landscape, any defensive gun use outside the home is going to require a good lawyer, a pot of cash and a sympathetic jury.
Good luck with that. No really. Good luck.