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IL case law question.

Discussion in 'Cop Talk' started by Keeperofthedew, Oct 15, 2011.

  1. This basically has to do with the definition of "unloaded" under state law, and since I know there are a couple guys from IL here, I was hoping one of them could chime in.
    Summary- A guy I work with claims that under IL law you can have a pistol (we'll say it's a G17 for this instance) with the magazine inserted so long as the chamber is empty and it's in a case. I.e. that having the chamber empty means the pistol is unloaded so far as the law is concerned.
    I argue that under IL that's a loaded weapon and will land you in jail.

    The definition isn't anywhere that I know of in the text of the law that I know of, so I was hoping someone had some case law that could clear it up.
  2. sixgun2

    sixgun2 packin heat

    Jun 18, 2009
    Niagara escarpment ON,CA
    I would side with previous case law an define your description of said firearm as been loaded.

  3. You wouldn't happen to have a specific case in mind would you?
    Saying that some cops on the internet agree with me isn't going to hold much weight.

    Yeah, I've seen that. But it doesn't address whether having a magazine in the pistol is loaded. Hence the issue.

  4. Sharky7

    Sharky7 Boomshakalaka

    Feb 21, 2009
    Just went through it all myself - sorry thought it would.

    Yes, I would consider a gun with a loaded magazine inserted a "loaded weapon." I can't give you any case law on it, but can tell you I have arrested numerous people with illegal firearms carried on their persons that did not have a round in the chamber. My first gun arrest during FTO was a crappy little .25 on the passenger seat under a box without a round in the chamber and it was referred to as "a loaded weapon", but described in the report as not having a round in the chamber.

    If I ran across a legitimate citizen on the way to the range who had the gun in a case in his trunk, it would be a teach-able moment. If it's a crap-weasel with the gun in his center console claiming it to be a "case" and has the magazine inserted, but no round in the chamber - he is definitely getting arrested.

    Hope that helps...Sorry, don't have any specific case laws for you...maybe someone else will be around with some.
  5. scottydl


    May 31, 2005
    The Middle
    Gotta use some common sense there. Would a 6-shot revolver with only 5 rounds in it be considered unloaded, if the single empty chamber was the next one lined up to the pin? No.

    I realize it's not exactly the same since revolvers and semi-autos obviously operate differently, and I think the average reasonable person would consider an inserted loaded magazine to equal a loaded gun.
  6. From the "Transport Your Firearm Legally" pamphlet:

    Now, it MIGHT be considered a bit of conjecture, but it seems the State Police consider it to be a COMMON understanding that a magazine inserted into a firearm is considered loaded. Otherwise, a "frequently asked question" about putting it in the same case makes no sense.

    They also have this blurb:

    Again, they're separating ammo in a magazine as being SEPARATE from the firearm itself.

    According to, this is the actual case file you're looking for:

    (I didn't read the whole case, and I'm not a lawyer anyway, but presumably does have a few lawyers that watch this stuff...)

    So, here's what I would tell your friend/co-worker: You do whatever you want, but if you're WRONG, and you're caught and charged, it will be a felony charge that, by FEDERAL law, will cost you your right to ever own a firearm again.
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2011
  7. scottydl


    May 31, 2005
    The Middle

    Firearms carry is not an area where your friend should be trying to look for the smallest possible loophole, and expect to be right later on.

    P.S. What's with all the "friend" posts around here lately? Seems to be an awful lot of "my friend said this" or "this happened to my friend" ... :dunno:
  8. If your friend has a big 2A group or well-connected lawyer going to bat for him... good luck. Otherwise, having case law with his name attached is not going to be a fun ride.
  9. I have always agreed with your guys thinking here and when I first started as a deputy I thought the same thing. But when I took my hunters saftey class, since in illinios if you were born after 1981 it is required to hunt, I was told by a DNR officer that you could have the magazine in the gun as long as there was not a round in the chamber. The gun had to be in a case and out of reach. Again I feel this is considered a loaded firearm but he said it is not. Not sure if he had case law or not, he never gave us any.
  10. I'd be more inclined to take that advice if I knew it was going to be a DNR officer stopping me on the highway....

    As a county deputy, if you stopped someone with a Glock, fully-loaded mag loaded but none in the chamber, would you make that charge? Would you department be ok if you let that go?

    (I'm not being facetious, as a deputy I would trust your professional word)
  11. I know I dont like it and I would have them out of the car at gun point until I knew the whole situation. YOU cant tell if that gun has one in the chamber or not until you look at it alittle closer and there has been too many cops killed lately over stupid things. We would have to call the SA and see what they say since I heard both ways but knowing them it wouldn't go far.
  12. steveksux

    steveksux Massive Member

    Jul 12, 2007
    The gun is locked in a case and inaccessible, right?

    What's the advantage to having the magazine in at that point? Utterly useless.

    IMO its really really stupid to take a risk like a felony over something utterly trivial and useless like the magazine in vs out of a locked, encased, inaccessible firearm.

    Leave the magazine out of the gun, for God's sake...

    Last edited: Oct 18, 2011
  13. Actually, it doesn't have to be locked. I don't BELIEVE inaccessible is a rule, either, because the glove box, and (I think) the center console are considered "cases"
  14. steveksux

    steveksux Massive Member

    Jul 12, 2007
    Even in Michigan, if you don't have CPL, unloaded, inaccessible, locked in a case is mandatory, I admit I didn't look at the pamplet that closely, just assumed IL would be at least as restrictive on transport without carry permit.... My bad..

  15. From the ISP site:

    What all of this goes to say that the biggest issues are unloaded, in a container, and by a FOID holder. Nothing about locked or accessible.

    That said, when I go to the range (40 minute drive), my Glock is usually locked in my rifle case or, in some situations (like when I had to pack up fast due to a sudden rain shower) it goes in my range bag, either of which ride in the trunk.

    Much as I'd like to push the limits and see what I could get away with, I'm not chancing it..
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2011
  16. volsbear

    volsbear IWannaBeSedated Lifetime Member

    Nov 8, 2007
    In light of the McDade decision, our prosecutor's position is to charge a UUW if the firearm has a round loaded into the chamber. Semi-automatics can have a loaded magazine inserted into the pistol as long as there is no round chambered. The SA has been less than clear, though, on revolvers. Presumably, under the same logic, if a six-shot revolver was loaded with four rounds and the immediate and next ports in the cylinder were the empties, you'd be ok. But again he's been less than clear on revolvers. Probably because he just flat doesn't know and doesn't want to define it yet. It seems as though the simple definition is that if you can pull the trigger and make it go boom, it's loaded.

    But again - you still may be in violation of the wild life code in certain situations.

    I've heard that a few local guys in my area have noted pistols to be present in glove compartments and center consoles (some with a loaded mag in the pistol and some not) and not charged it. I suspect, however, that the motorist was detained for quite a while during the time they worked it all out.

    I tell my friends and family to store it in the console if they absolutely feel it's necessary but I suggest that they pocket the mag or stick it in the cup holder. I have a few other friends who have permits from Utah, Penn, or both and when they travel they stick the pistol in a case and stash it under the seat with the mags in the case but not in the pistol and then as soon as they hit the state line (other than Wisconsin) they put said pistol into a holster on their hip.

    It seems silly to risk getting shot over a process that only adds a few seconds to your ability to respond to a crisis, but I'm sure there are people out there who would criticize that opinion.

    In other news - one of the illinois carry organizations is also pushing a concept called "six seconds to safety" where they are 'suggesting' people carry pistols in a fanny pack (a closed case per Illinois law) with a loaded mag in the pistol without a round in the chamber. The idea is that if the crap hits the fan, the fanny-pack wearer can open the closed case, draw the pistol, chamber a round, and defend themselves within 6 seconds. They're basically trying to get people arrested in order to create a basis to further test the IL UUW laws.

    You know - but whatever. Do what you want as long as you're prepared to deal with it. These definitions are not as a problematic for me to deal with since all my probationers are felons.
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2011