The City of Chicago has the strictest weapons control laws in the nation yet has one of the highest murder rates in the nation. It’s very difficult for a law-abiding citizen to get a firearm in the city of Chicago Illinois. Chicago’s murder rate surpassed New York City’s and Los Angeles’ combined. Suffice it to say you are right to think about self-defense if you live or will be in the city of Chicago.
So what can you have to defend yourself? With so much conflicting information out there I spoke with an attorney from the Chicago based Luisi Legal Group for verification. Here is a list of legal self-defense weapons in Chicago.
Legal Self Defense Weapons in Chicago
Based on my research these weapons are legal to carry in the city of Chicago (with restrictions) provided you are not a convicted felon. Convicted felons may not possess any weapon in the city of Chicago.
- Pepper Spray*
- Tactical Pens
- Tasers & Stun Guns
Can You Carry Pepper Spray in Chicago?
It is legal to own pepper spray in Chicago and in Illinois provided you are 18 years of age or older and no a felon. However, you can’t use it indoors in most places.
(a) No person shall use any device to discharge a noxious gas or liquid in an enclosed room in any Class C-1 or Class C-2 Assembly Unit, as defined in Chapter 13-56 of this Code, or in an enclosed room in any restaurant, bar or tavern that is a Class F Assembly Unit as defined in that chapter, if more than 20 persons are present in that room, unless the person is a peace officer, as defined in Section 8-20-30* of this Code, engaged in law enforcement activity. As used in this section, “noxious gas or liquid” means mace, pepper spray or any other substance that is intended or designed to cause irritation to the eyes, nose or mouth, or to cause nausea.
That being said when you get pepper spray those little dinky canisters are not the best option. You really want to get a pepper spray gun (which is also legal) to make sure you don’t end up accidentally macing yourself in an emergency situation.
Is it Legal to Carry a Stun Gun in Chicago?
You may possess a taser or stun gun in the State of Illinois and the City of Chicago so long as you have a Concealed Carry Card and Firearms Owners Identification Card (FOID card). With a concealed carry card. Even with a FOID card there are still restrictions for use of a taser or stun gun in Chicago. Check out some good tasers and stun guns on my most awesome self-defense weapons list.
- You can’t use it offensively (you’re the aggressor)
- while you’re masked or hooded in a way to hide your identity
- in a place licensed to sell intoxicating beverages
- at any licensed public gathering where admission is charged
- in a school, college, or courthouse
- within or in 1,000 feet of a public park
- in public housing, or
- on public transit
Is it Legal to Carry a Pocket Knife in Chicago?
It is technically legal to carry a pocket knife in Chicago however the blade must be 2.5 inches* or less in length. You may have up to 3 inches in the State of Illinois.
You must have a concealed carry card and a FOID card in order to carry a switchblade, bowie knives, or any other automatic or large knife in Chicago.
This 2.5-inch limitation in Chicago is repeated throughout the internet, however, I could not find a link to an original source–for example legislation–verifying this law.
A Practical Alternative to Chicago’s Restrictive Knife Laws
Instead of a pocket knife consider a tactical knife instead. Here’s my review of the StrikePen which has everything a person looking for a self-defense tool would need from a screwdriver to a flashlight, with one additional bonus.
The statute covering knives and stun guns in Illinois
Sec. 24-1. (a) A person commits the offense of unlawful use of weapons when he knowingly: carries any bludgeon, black-jack, slung-shot, sand-club, sand-bag, metal knuckles or other knuckle weapon regardless of its composition, throwing star, or any knife, commonly referred to as a switchblade knife, which has a blade that opens automatically by hand pressure applied to a button, spring or other device in the handle of the knife, or a ballistic knife, which is a device that propels a knifelike blade as a projectile by means of a coil spring, elastic material or compressed gas; or
(2) Carries or possesses with intent to use the same
unlawfully against another, a dagger, dirk, billy, dangerous knife, razor, stiletto, broken bottle or other piece of glass, stun gun or taser or any other dangerous or deadly weapon or instrument of like character;
(3) Carries on or about his person or in any vehicle,a tear gas gun projector or bomb or any object containing noxious liquid gas or substance, other than an object containing a non-lethal noxious liquid gas or substance designed solely for personal defense carried by a person 18 years of age or older; or(4) Carries or possesses in any vehicle or concealed on or about his person except when on his land or in his own abode, legal dwelling, or fixed place of business, or on the land or in the legal dwelling of another person as an invitee with that person’s permission, any pistol, revolver, stun gun or taser or other firearm, except that this subsection (a) (4) does not apply to or affect transportation of weapons that meet one of the following conditions:
How to Get a FOID Card
If you are interested in a FOID card you may apply online with the Illinois Firearm Services Bureau. You must meet the following criteria to be qualified for a FOID card
- Be at least 21 years of age or older or have parental guardian’s written permission and a clean record
- You can’t have any felonies or domestic violence convictions on your record
- You can’t be addicted to drugs
- There can be no restraining order against you that prohibits you from possessing a firearm.
A Self Defense Weapon You May Not Have Considered
A whistle, yes you read that right, I said a whistle. One of the most low tech devices out there can be the most effective. Why? Because it creates the element of surprise. Most muggers don’t want a lot of attention. A good loud whistle will bring a lot of unwanted attention to what is happening.
I watched a video of a convicted mugger who said a would-be victim blew a whistle which caused him to run away. I got one of these whistles for my mom. The reason being is because it’s thin, orange, and has a keyring. Therefore it also serves to ensure you can find your keys in the morning! Best of all it’s discreet. Unlike a baton or pepper spray, most people don’t associate a whistle with a weapon. Check out my list of other best anti-mugging devices.