Since 2019, the city of Chicago has put a ban on “assault weapons.” This law was in response to a series of mass shootings taking place in Illinois and across the entire nation, mostly involving large, automatic rifles. No single, unified definition of an “assault weapon” exists. States have turned to varying formulations and definitions in an attempt to define what constitutes an “assault weapon.” It is important for Cook County gun owners to be familiar with how the law actually defines possession of an assault weapon, lest you find yourself facing a firearms charge.
What is the Definition of an Assault Weapon in Chicago?
There are several ways to be in possession of an “assault weapon” in Chicago. City code defines an assault weapon as “any weapon that shoots . . . automatically, more than one shot, without manual reloading, by a single function of the trigger.” This definition would include all automatic rifles. If you hold down the trigger and more than one bullet comes out, you may be looking at an assault weapon by Chicago’s standards.
This definition also includes the frame or receiver of automatic rifles, as well as “any part designed and intended for use in converting a weapon into a machine gun,” or any collection of firearm parts that one could assemble to construct a machine gun. Even disassembled, this type of rifle is illegal in Chicago.
Are There Any Exceptions?
There are few exceptions to Chicago’s assault weapons ban unless using an assault weapon is a normal part of your (legal) job. The only time you are likely to see a legal machine gun in this city is if it is strapped to a police officer, a member of the armed forces, or the operators of an armored vehicle.
The only exception that would apply to an ordinary civilian involves transporting – not possessing – a gun that meets the definition of an assault weapon. Such weapons can only be transported through the city if they are “broken down and in a non-functioning state.” Even in this state, the gun must still not be immediately accessible to anyone during transport. It is highly advisable to speak to an attorney before attempting to handle an illegal gun under this exception, as you are still at risk of arrest if a police officer disagrees with your methods.
Call a Chicago Gun Defense Lawyer
When you get brought up on a weapons charge, your freedom and future prospects are at risk. At Hartsfield Law, we are experienced in defending gun owners who have been accused of breaking the law. Our highly knowledgeable Chicago weapons charges attorneys are committed to putting forth the strongest defenses possible. Call our law office at 312-345-1700 for a free consultation.