Appeal from the Circuit Court of Du Page County. No. 93-CM-4730. Honorable Thomas C. Dudgeon, Judge, Presiding.
Released for Publication April 18, 1995.
The Honorable Justice Geiger delivered the opinion of the court: Inglis and Hutchinson, JJ., concur.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Geiger
JUSTICE GEIGER delivered the opinion of the court:
Defendant, Christopher F. LoCoco, appeals the judgment of the circuit court of Du Page County finding him guilty of unlawful use ofa weapon and the order denying his motion for a new trial. The issue on appeal is whether the trial court erred in finding that defendant was not exempted from the charge by an exception for security guards who are on duty. We reverse.
On August 19, 1993, defendant was employed as a security guard for Enchanted Castle Restaurant. He reported to work at noon that day and had a 1 p.m. court appearance at the courthouse in Glendale Heights. He had been summoned by the Du Page County State's Attorney to testify as a complaining witness in a criminal matter relating to an incident at Enchanted Castle. Defendant's employer was aware that he was testifying that day.
As defendant was leaving the courthouse parking lot, a police car followed him. The police officer stopped defendant and defendant told the officer that he had a gun in the car. The officer found the gun in a "fanny pack" in the backseat. Defendant was charged with unlawful use of a weapon pursuant to section 24-1(a)(4) of the Criminal Code of 1961 (the Code) (720 ILCS 5/24-1(a)(4) (West 1992)).
On April 25, 1994, defendant was convicted following a bench trial. On June 22, 1994, the trial court denied defendant's motion for a new trial. Defendant filed a timely notice of appeal. On appeal, defendant argues that the trial court erred in concluding that defendant was not exempted from section 24-1(a)(4) of the Code by the exception provided in section 24-2(a)(6) of the Code (720 ILCS 5/24-2(a)(6) (West 1992)) for security guards on duty.
Section 24-1(a)(4) of the Code provides in relevant part:
"(a) A person commits the offense of unlawful use of weapons when he knowingly:
(4) Carries or possesses in any vehicle or concealed on or about his person except when on his land or in his own abode or fixed place of business any pistol, revolver, stun gun or taser or other firearm ***." 720 ILCS 5/24-1(a)(4) (West 1992).
Section 24-2(a)(6) of the Code provides in relevant part:
"(a) Subsections 24-1(a)(3), 24-1(a)(4) and 24-1(a)(10) do not apply to or affect any of the following:
(6) Any person regularly employed in a commercial or industrial operation as a security guard for the protection of persons employed and private property related to such commercial or industrial operation, while actually engaged in the performance of his or her duty or traveling between sites or ...