As many of you are aware, a big election is just around the corner. In addition to our presidential election, there are many local issues on the ballot in your area.
Carrying a Firearm When Voting In Person
Most states have no laws regarding guns in polling places, because, for the most part, they have not needed them. As we near the home stretch of one of the most divisive presidential elections in recent history, the result of which will almost certainly affect gun rights. We must remain calm and be responsible gun owners.
In Illinois, there is currently no specific law regarding carrying into a polling place. That being said, we must be cognizant of the rules regarding gun free zones, which, for the State of Illinois, cover almost all polling places.
Amongst these restricted places are the well-known government buildings, hospitals, schools, libraries, public parks and facilities; however, there is also the all-encompassing, “any building, real property under the control of a unit of local government”. It can be argued that during the time the polls are open, the facility being used is under the control of local government.
In summary, I cannot think of polling places in Illinois that would not be considered a gun free zone. In Illinois election judges will be given the “no firearms” signs to be posted at their respective locations. If you are not sure if your polling place comes under one of the previously designated lists of restricted areas, my advice is to leave your firearm in your vehicle, locked.
Another issue that could arise if you are seen with your weapon inside the polling place, is the issue of intimidation, which could lead to serious charges. Although having you gun with you at or near a polling place may be perfectly innocent, during these times it may not take much for a person to misinterpret your intentions.
Navigating Demonstrations and Protests
It is possible, depending on where in the state you reside, demonstrations may be occurring when you head to the polls. Although you may strongly disagree with the demonstrators, remember in our country people have the right to peacefully, gather to express their opinions. If the demonstration becomes unruly or violent, once again, displaying your weapon could be considered an assault. Always keep in mind the laws regarding self-defense and use of deadly weapons. The threat must be imminent, and you cannot be the initial aggressor. My advice is to keep to yourself, vote and go home.
For any questions about voting in the State of Illinois, call U.S. LawShield and ask to speak to me, your Independent Program Attorney.
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