Illinois, in firearms industry circles, is known for frequent anti-gun legislation and, of course, Chicago.
As I was working my way through some of the other stories we have here in the site — especially our news stories — I saw a couple of details here and there that made me wonder: Does Illinois have a Stand Your Ground law?
The short answer is that no, it doesn’t, but that comes with some pretty interesting caveats. Let’s check it out.
For the uninitiated, Stand Your Ground laws “allow people to respond to threats of death, serious bodily injury, rape, and some other serious crimes with deadly force,” Eugene Volokh, a law professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, said according to CNN.
Brady United comically mislabels the concept: “Under the guise of self-defense, ‘Stand Your Ground’ laws legally allow a person to use a firearm to shoot and kill another person anywhere, at any time.”
Now, that’s incorrect to such an extent that one could make the argument that that particular claim is born of hysteria, but there’s no denying that the concept of a Stand Your Ground Law are extremely polarizing.
Goldman & Associates, among numerous other sources, points out that Illinois does not have a Stand Your Ground Law at this time.
However, according to Giffords Law Center, it’s not quite that simple.
“Though Illinois does not have a stand your ground statute, the state Supreme Court has held that there is no duty to retreat before using force in public,” the Center said.
“Illinois law authorizes the use of deadly force to prevent the commission of a forcible felony, which is defined to include burglary of unoccupied vehicles.”
Friedberg, Attorney at Law, explained that there is not a Stand Your Ground law, but then enumerated a legal defense for deadly force that does sound awfully close:
“Illinois statute 720 ILCS 5/6-4 provides that individuals may implement reasonable force to defend themselves or someone else. In addition, reasonable force may be used to defend one’s property.
“To use self-defense in a murder case, the accused must show:
- There was a grave and immediate threat to the accused, another person, or the accused’s property;
- The threat was illegal;
- The accused believed that there was a danger present that required force; and
- The accused used force that was equivalent to the threat.”
In short, it’s more nuanced than a simple “yes” or “no.” Illinois has more protections for those who would employ self-defense than many, including myself, likely thought.
As always, though, be sure to know your state or local laws — especially when it comes to something so incredibly important.