Illinois is no stranger to controversy over gun control laws. With the recent passage of new legislation, as well as new precedent established by the Illinois Supreme Court, felony crimes involving guns are murky, making the job of prosecutors in charging suspects more difficult. A recent situation involving a gun owner from out-of-state and a golf tournament tests Illinois gray-area gun laws to the limit. The story highlights the important legal implications of the gun control climate in Illinois, of which every legal Illinois gun owner should be aware, or else potentially face weapons charges.
According to the Chicago Tribune, on Monday, September 17, a man tried to enter the BMW Championship golf tournament with a gun. 48-year-old Mark T. Fedder, who lives in Westmont, Illinois, tried to enter the tournament through a security gate, but security stopped him before he was able to enter. Police later also discovered two guns in Mr. Fedder’s vehicle.
The Potential Gun Charges
Last week, the Illinois Supreme Court ruled that some individuals who carry firearms on their person, but possess a valid license to do so, may not be charged or prosecuted under Illinois criminal laws. The ruling was based on the Supreme Court’s finding that part of the Illinois State gun law is unconstitutional. In addition to this ruling, changes to gun laws in Illinois have occurred thought he legislative process. Illinois passed its own concealed carry law that will be effective in January, 2014. CBS Local notes that Illinois concealed carry permit applications will not be available until that time.
The changing legal climate has prosecutors weighing all of the implications before determining the charges that they will bring against Mr. Fedder. Mr Fedder does have a valid Indiana permit to own the guns, but it is not certain whether he has an Illinois permit, due to privacy laws. In any event, Mr. Fedder could ultimately face felony weapons charges, but prosecutors are waiting to charge him until they know the full scope of implications. Felony weapons charges may bring with them severe penalties and consequences, including a felony conviction on one’s record, jail time, and penalties.
The Obstruction of Justice Charge
For now, Mr. Fedder has been charged with obstruction of justice for attempting to bring the gun into the golf tournament. Under Illinois criminal law 720 ILCS 5/31-4, a person commits obstruction of justice when he or she intends to prevent apprehension or causes the obstruction of prosecution or defense of any person and knowingly destroys, alters, conceals or disguises physical evidence, plants false evidence or furnishes false information. Obstruction of justice is a Class 4 felony crime. Prosecutors likely charged Mr. Fedder with obstruction of justice because he allegedly made up stories and was lying about why he possessed the gun.
Felony crimes are seriously prosecuted in Illinois. Weapons charges are complex and require skill and experience to fully understand the full scope of penalties and consequences an offender might face. If you have been charged with violating criminal laws in Illinois, you should immediately seek out a criminal defense attorney. Contact Goldman & Associates today for a confidential consultation.