COOK COUNTY CRIMINAL COURTHOUSE — A Virginia man who said he wanted to feel safe in the "big city" faces felony charges after he was caught with a concealed gun in Chicago's Union Station, prosecutors said Wednesday.
James McManaway, 23, was playing pool at the downtown train station's Metro Deli Tuesday afternoon when a bartender spotted a gun peaking out from beneath McManaway's shirt when he leaned over the table, according to court records.
She notified Amtrak Police, who found McManaway drinking beer and playing billiards. One of the officers asked McManaway if he had any "contraband."
"Umm, maybe, I might have a pistol," McManaway replied, according to police reports.
Police confiscated the firearm holstered at his waist and informed the young Virginian that concealed carry is still against the law in Illinois, according to court records. He was charged with unlawful use of a weapon.
McManaway told officers that his grandfather had given him the black Russian Ceska Zbrojovka gun as a gift, and he felt safe in the "big city" with the firearm at his side, according to police reports.
Contacted Wednesday, the defendant's grandfather and namesake said his grandson "obviously failed to do his due diligence where the laws in Illinois are concerned."
The grandfather, also named James McManaway, 79, said from his home "at the top of a mountain" in Royal Front, Va., that the state of Virginia is "much kinder to people who want to carry pistols.
"I don't agree with the laws in Chicago, but the people there are the ones who have to deal with them," he said. "I'm almost 800 miles away."
The younger McManaway on Wednesday appeared in Cook County Bond Court, where Judge Donald D. Panarese Jr. set his bail at $25,000. He has no apparent criminal record.
Illinois lawmakers are facing a June 9 deadline to draft legislation allowing residents to carry concealed weapons in the state — which is currently the only state without such a law on the books.