A stun gun is an alternative to lethal firearms to provide self-defense. Stun guns are legal in most states, but some states, like Illinois, do have specific restrictions. In addition to the restrictions, Illinois has penalties for illegal use of stun guns.
A stun gun is a nonlethal alternative for police officers and civilians to protect themselves. The stun gun has two electrodes that send 200,000 to more than 1,000,000 volts to the body. When used, it temporarily paralyzes the body because the shock shuts down the brain and confuses the body’s muscles.
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Illinois Stun Gun Restrictions
Illinois places restrictions on the ownership and possession of stun guns. The state requires that anyone owning a stun gun must first obtain a valid Firearm Owner’s Identification card (FOID card), as is also required for the ownership of firearms. Second, stun gun retailers are required to keep sales records for 10 years, as is also required for the sale of firearms. All licensed retailers are required to conduct background checks on purchasers of stun guns. Lastly, the 24-hour waiting period for certain firearms (rifles and shotguns) also applies to stun gun purchases.
Chicago's Additional Stun Gun Laws
While the state has stun gun basic restrictions, the city of Chicago has additional restrictions for obtaining a stun gun. Stun guns cannot be sold in Chicago. In addition, Chicago residents who purchase stun guns in other areas of Illinois are required to fill out an application with law enforcement officials. If the application is approved, there is a 120-day waiting period before the Chicago resident will receive his or her registration and be able to purchase the stun gun.
Illinois Stun Gun Law
In Illinois, even if one legally owns a stun gun, the state has a possession and concealment law. A stun gun cannot be carried in a concealed manner or possessed with the intent to use the stun gun in an unlawful manner. Permissible possession includes having a stun gun in one’s home or primary business location for self-defense or defense of property purposes.
Penalties for Having or Using a Stun Gun
Illinois has various penalties for violating the state’s stun gun law. If one is guilty of illegally possessing a stun gun, either without a license or carrying in a concealed manner, the penalty is minor. Illegal possession is a misdemeanor and usually is punishable with a small fine because the stun gun is a nonlethal weapon. However, if a stun gun is used on a person in a way other than self-defense, Illinois considers such use a Class 4 felony, punishable by up to three years in prison. If that person is charged with such aggravated use of a weapon more than once, the offense is raised to a Class 2 felony, punishable by three to seven years in prison.
Bernadette A. Safrath is an attorney who has been writing professionally since 2008. Safrath was published in Touro Law Center's law review and now writes legal articles for various websites. Safrath has a Bachelor of Arts in music from Long Island University at C.W. Post, as well as a Juris Doctor from Touro College.