Taser Laws in Illinois: Legal or Not?

When most folks think of self-defense implements, the first thing they will think of is a gun, maybe a knife, and probably pepper spray if they aren’t inclined to either one of those.

flag of Illinois
flag of Illinois

All have their pros, but tasers have special advantages that might make them the right tool for certain people. They’re extremely effective when they connect and work, and they give you some room to stand off from the bad guy.

But, as generally safe as they are, some states don’t allow citizens to own them. Is Illinois one of them? Are tasers legal or not in Illinois?

Tasers are legal in Illinois, strictly speaking, but they are heavily regulated and to this day it remains unclear if carrying one in public is legal or not.

If you’ve been paying attention to the 2nd Amendment situation for any length of time, you probably already know that Illinois is something of a pit concerning the constitutional rights of citizens.

Simply stated, Illinois would rather see you completely unarmed and at the mercy of criminals. Believe it or not, this attitude even extends to tasers. I’ll try to help you figure out what’s what in the rest of this article…

How are Tasers Classified in Illinois?

Like all legal statutes in the State of Illinois, you’ll have to dig and dig and dig to find a clear-cut definition of what a taser is in the eyes of the law. The first meaningful definition we find is in 720 ILCS Section 24-1 concerning the unlawful use of weapons.

Illinois broadly defines a “taser” as any device which is powered by electrical charging units like batteries and which fires barbs attached to wire which can transmit a current capable of disrupting a person’s nervous system.

That’s the short, layman’s definition, but you can check the full relevant text below in the transcribed section.

And because this is Illinois, it’s also useful to know what a taser is not: looking at 430 ILCS Section 66/5, we see that a taser or stun gun is specifically excluded from the definition of handgun, which is otherwise defined as a device that uses the expansion or escape of any gas to expel a projectile. That could describe a taser also!

720 ILCS Sec. 24-1. Unlawful use of weapons.

(a) A person commits the offense of unlawful use of weapons when he knowingly:

A “stun gun or taser”, as used in this paragraph (a) means (i) any device which is powered by electrical charging units, such as, batteries, and which fires one or several barbs attached to a length of wire and which, upon hitting a human, can send out a current capable of disrupting the person’s nervous system in such a manner as to render him incapable of normal functioning or (ii) any device which is powered by electrical charging units, such as batteries, and which, upon contact with a human or clothing worn by a human, can send out current capable of disrupting the person’s nervous system in such a manner as to render him incapable of normal functioning; or

430 ILCS 66/5. Definitions

As used in this Act [Firearm Concealed Carry Act]:

Handgun” means any device which is designed to expel a projectile or projectiles by the action of an explosion, expansion of gas, or escape of gas that is designed to be held and fired by the use of a single hand. “Handgun” does not include:

(1) a stun gun or taser;

Are Stun Guns Legal in Illinois?

Yes, stun guns are broadly legal in Illinois but are in the same sort of gray zone that tasers are. You can legally obtain a stun gun for personal protection, but it’s unclear when and under what conditions you can carry it.

Can You Carry a Taser Openly in Illinois?

It is unclear. Although it’s legal to purchase and possess a taser in Illinois, you can only certainly carry it on private property, either property that belongs to you or property that belongs to someone else if you have the express permission of the person that owns it.

Frankly, I would not try to open carry a taser anywhere in Illinois. If you read 720 ILCS Section 24-1 concerning the unlawful use of weapons, you’ll see that the unlawful use of weapons is carrying one with the intent to unlawfully use it against another.

Simple enough, seems fair, but unfortunately, Illinois has proven time and time again and illegal cases that it’s overtly hostile to the notion of its citizens going around armed.

Do so only at your own peril!

720 ILCS Sec. 24-1. Unlawful use of weapons.

(a) A person commits the offense of unlawful use of weapons when he knowingly:

(2) Carries or possesses with intent to use the same unlawfully against another, a dagger, dirk, billy, dangerous knife, razor, stiletto, broken bottle or other piece of glass, stun gun or taser or any other dangerous or deadly weapon or instrument of like character; or

Can You Carry a Taser Concealed in Illinois?

Only on private property that you own, or private property that’s owned by someone else when you have their express permission to carry the taser.

There is an ongoing Supreme Court-level battle concerning civilian carry of tasers and other weapons in Illinois, but it does not seem to be resolving itself to the satisfaction of concerned citizenry.

Simply stated, if you decide to conceal carry a taser in Illinois, even inside your own vehicle while in public, you might be setting yourself up for serious charges.

However, 720 ILCS Section 24-1 states that an exception to the statutes is made for anyone who has a firearm concealed carry license. The relevant text is included below, but the section is very lengthy, so make sure you read it for yourself.

720 ILCS Sec. 24-1. Unlawful use of weapons.

(a) A person commits the offense of unlawful use of weapons when he knowingly:

(4) Carries or possesses in any vehicle or concealed on or about his person except when on his land or in his own abode, legal dwelling, or fixed place of business, or on the land or in the legal dwelling of another person as an invitee with that person’s permission, any pistol, revolver, stun gun or taser or other firearm, except that this subsection (a)(4) does not apply to or affect transportation of weapons that meet one of the following conditions:

(iv) are carried or possessed in accordance with the Firearm Concealed Carry Act by a person who has been issued a currently valid license under the Firearm Concealed Carry Act;

Are there Age Restrictions on Taser Ownership or Possession in Illinois?

Yes. You have to be 21 years old or older to legally purchase, own or possess a taser. People that are 18 years old or older may possess a taser if they have their parents’ written permission on their person at all times while in possession of the device and have a clean criminal background.

What Do You Need to Do to Buy a Taser?

If you want to purchase a taser in Illinois, you must obtain a Firearm Owners Identification Card, commonly referred to as a FOID. The only exceptions are made for military, law enforcement, or government personnel.

You must be 21 years old or older, or 18 or older with your parents’ permission, in order to initiate the purchase, you must have a criminal background free of felony and domestic violence charges, you cannot be a drug addict, you cannot be under a restraining order or any other court order that restricts your rights to own, purchase or protect firearms, and you cannot have been adjudicated mentally defective.

A background check is required, and you must wait 24 hours before you can take possession of the taser, the same as any firearm.

More information concerning the FOID and its relevant laws can be found in 430 ILCS Section 65, partially included below.

430 ILCS 65/ – Firearm Owners Identification Card Act.

Sec. 1. It is hereby declared as a matter of legislative determination that in order to promote and protect the health, safety and welfare of the public, it is necessary and in the public interest to provide a system of identifying persons who are not qualified to acquire or possess firearms, firearm ammunition, stun guns, and tasers within the State of Illinois by the establishment of a system of Firearm Owner’s Identification Cards, thereby establishing a practical and workable system by which law enforcement authorities will be afforded an opportunity to identify those persons who are prohibited by Section 24-3.1 of the Criminal Code of 2012, from acquiring or possessing firearms and firearm ammunition and who are prohibited by this Act from acquiring stun guns and tasers.

Is Training Mandatory for Taser Ownership in Illinois?

Yes. Training is required to get an FOID, and you’ve got to have one of those if you want a taser or stun gun in Illinois.

Where Can You Carry a Taser in Illinois?

Frankly, it is very unclear. With some certainty, you can carry your taser, concealed or unconcealed, on your private property or the private property of anyone else as long as you have their explicit permission. Note that Chicago completely bans the devices as of press time, and other municipalities might as well.

Nominally, you can carry a taser in public places, but this is very questionable according to all the uncertainty surrounding the Illinois Supreme Court decisioning.

In any case, you aren’t allowed to carry a taser at any public gathering where an admission or cover fee is charged, within 1,000 feet of any public park, in public housing, on public transit, and any place that sells alcohol on premises or into any school, college, courthouse or other government buildings, facilities, or properties.

When Can You Use It to Defend Yourself in Illinois?

The only time you can use a taser to protect yourself in Illinois is if you’re in genuine and reasonable fear of the unlawful use of force against yourself, specifically unlawful force that has a significant chance of causing death or great bodily injury.

Tasers aren’t a joke, and even though they are typically thought of as non-lethal weapons the use of a taser against a person can result in substantial injury or even death, directly or indirectly.

This means they are serious business, and any unlawful, frivolous or reckless use of a taser will get you charged with substantial felonies.

The post Taser Laws in Illinois: Legal or Not? appeared first on Modern Survival Online.

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