ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Although Illinois is not among the 38 U.S. states that have a “Stand Your Ground” law, residents do have the right to use a gun to defend themselves in their homes in certain situations.
On the books in Illinois is the “Justifiable Use of Force” law, or 750 ILCS 5/7, a law passed in 2004.
The law pays particular attention to the uses of “reasonable force,” “deadly force,” and self-defense, defense of others, and defense of one’s property.
As it pertains to self-defense and defense of others, 750 ILCS 5/7 allows you to fight back with an equal amount of force if you believe you or another person is about to be attacked, even in public.
“For example, if an attacker comes at you with a knife, you can strike back with any heavy or sharp object available to you or wield a chair or other large object as a shield,” Joliet lawyer Jack L. Zaremba says on his website.
Deadly force, according to Illinois law, can be used if you or another is in imminent danger of death or great bodily harm. The means it would be legal to use a gun to stop the commission of a forcible felony like rape or murder.
Defense of your home
According to, 750 ILCS 5/7-2, defined as the state’s Use of Force in Defense of Dwelling law, if someone is trying to break into your home, reasonable force is permitted.
Zaremba explains that you may use deadly force if the the break-in is made in a violent manner.
“Perhaps involving multiple trespassers, and you reasonably believe that the trespasser(s) will physically attack you or another person in the home,” Zaremba’s firm says. “And, you can use deadly force if you reasonably believe it is necessary to prevent the commission of a felony in the home.”
The law, however, does not specify whether the felony you would be attempting to prevent in the home would need to be a “forcible” one.
Illinois law defines deadly force as force that is intended to cause death or great bodily harm, Zaremba says. That means if you shoot at someone who breaks into your home and miss, it would still be considered deadly force. A warning shot, or one not intended to hit someone, would not be considered deadly force.
So in circumstances where deadly force is warranted, it is legal to shoot someone inside your home in Illinois.