Gun control laws in Illinois are far more restrictive than those in other parts of the country. Illegal firearm possession charges are extremely serious allegations that can have devastating effects on all aspects of a person’s life, and it is imperative that anyone facing gun possession charges in Illinois meets these accusations with appropriately aggressive legal attention.
The Champaign gun possession lawyers of Bruno Law Offices have dedicated their professional lives to defending the rights and interests of citizens just like yourself and will help ensure that you are given the thorough and exhaustive defense you deserve. If you are facing gun possession charges, call us today at (217) 328-6000 and schedule an initial consultation to discuss your legal options.
Illinois Gun Laws
One of the primary distinctions Illinois boasts over less strict states is that you must hold a Firearm Owner’s Identification (FOID) card in order to legally purchase or possess any firearms or ammunition. A person is eligible for a FOID card if they are 21 years of age or have a parent or guardian sponsor eligible for a FOID card and are not prohibited from possessing firearms in accordance with state or federal law.
The applicant must also:
- Not be a person who intentionally makes a false statement on their FOID application.
- Have no felony convictions.
- Not be a person under 21 years of age and convicted of a misdemeanor other than a traffic offense or adjudged delinquent.
- Not be addicted to narcotics.
- Not have been convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence.
- Not have been a patient in a mental health facility within the past five years.
- Not have been dishonorably discharged from the United States Armed Forces.
- Not have been a patient in a mental health facility more than five years ago, unless the applicant submits a Mental Health certification under 430 ILCS 65/8(u).
- Not have renounced their citizenship.
- Not be intellectually disabled.
- Not be developmentally disabled.
- Not be an alien unlawfully present in the United States.
- Not be a person whose mental condition is of such a nature that it poses a clear and present danger to the applicant, any other person, or the community.
- Not be subject to an existing order of protection.
- Not been involuntarily admitted into a mental health facility.
- Not been adjudicated as a mentally disabled person.
- Not have been convicted within the past five years of battery, assault, aggravated assault, violation of an order of protection, or a substantially similar offense in another jurisdiction, in which a firearm was used or possessed.
- Be a resident of the State of Illinois.
- Not have been convicted of domestic battery, aggravated domestic battery, or a substantially similar offense in another jurisdiction.
- Not be an adult adjudicated a delinquent minor under the Juvenile Court Act of 1987 for the commission of an offense that if committed by an adult would be a felony.
- Not be a minor allegedly delinquent for the commission of an offense that would be a felony if committed by an adult.
- Not be an alien who has been admitted to the United States under a non-immigrant visa unless the applicant is an official representative of a foreign government or who received a waiver from the Attorney General of the United States.
Some people interested in purchasing firearms and ammunition in Illinois will often complete FOID applications at local gun shops where the store can help a person complete an application and handle the mailing for them. Many others decide to complete their own applications by visiting the Illinois State Police website and mailing their application and necessary materials themselves.
A FOID card remains valid for 10 years. Licenses can be renewed within 90 days of expiration date through online methods or call-in applications.
Additionally, Illinois does not allow a licensed individual to carry a concealed handgun under any circumstances and does not recognize such licenses from any other state. Simple possession without a FOID is a Class A Misdemeanor, but various specific types of weapons or circumstances can escalate these charges in the following ways:
- A second offense of possessing a firearm will result in Class 3 felony prosecution.
- Possession of a firearm while hooded, robed, or masked is a Class 4 felony.
- Possessing a firearm within 1,000 feet of public property such as a school, park, courthouse, or public housing project is a Class 3 felony.
- It is a Class 4 felony to possess a firearm in any establishment licensed to sell alcoholic beverages.
Convictions in these cases could carry the following consequences:
- Class A Misdemeanor — Up to one year in jail, two years of probation, and a fine of up to $2,500.
- Class 4 Felony — Up to three years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000.
- Class 3 Felony — Up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000.
Additionally, all federal laws requiring the registration of weapons covered by the National Firearms Act (NFA) also apply in the state of Illinois, requiring the registration of machine guns, short-barreled rifles, short-barreled shotguns, suppressors, and destructive devices. Possession of certain types of prohibited weapons can result in increased penalties.
The First Time Weapon Offender Program found in 730 Illinois Consolidated Statute 5/5-6-3.6 was established to last at least 18 months and is set to be repealed January 1, 2023. The law allows for probation and dismissal of charges upon successful completion of probation in cases of Unlawful Use of Weapon or Aggravated Unlawful Use of Weapon committed by alleged offenders so long as:
- The offense was not committed during the commission of a violent crime;
- They have not previously been convicted or placed on probation or conditional discharge for any violent crime;
- They have no prior successful completion of the First Time Weapon Offender Program;
- They have not been adjudicated a delinquent minor for the commission of a violent offense;
- They are not 21 years of age or older; or
- They have no existing order of protection issued against them.
The eight conditions of the Program include that the alleged offender:
- Not violate any Illinois criminal statute or another jurisdiction;
- Refrain from possessing a firearm or other dangerous weapon;
- Obtain or attempt to obtain employment;
- Attend educational courses designed to prepare them for obtaining a high school diploma or to work toward passing high school equivalency testing or to work toward completing a vocational training program;
- Refrain from illegal drug use;
- Perform a minimum of 50 hours of community service;
- Attend and participate in any activities required by the Program administrator, such as counseling sessions, in-person and over the phone check-ins, and educational classes;
- Pay all fines, assessments, fees, and costs.
One must take the utmost care to follow all gun control requirements in the state of Illinois, as harsh penalties are in place for violators of both state and federal law. If you are facing charges of illegally possessing a weapon, it is vital that you employ the services of a skilled attorney to protect your rights and interests. Contact the Champaign gun possession attorneys at Bruno Law Offices today by calling (217) 328-6000 to learn more about what we can do for you.
Illinois Gun Laws FAQs
How important is a Firearm Owner’s Identification (FOID) card?
Possession of a FOID is necessary in Illinois to purchase or possess any firearms or ammunition. The police in Illinois take gun possession extremely seriously and aggressively pursue charges against those suspected of breaking Illinois’ stringent gun laws. In addition, in order to use your weapon at a designated firing range or hunting, you must be physically holding your FOID. Vendors and operators are required by law to ensure all their customers are legally registered with the state.
How do I qualify to obtain a Firearm Owner’s Identification card?
In Illinois, there are several requirements for obtaining a FOID meant to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous individuals. Similar to a driver’s license, there are age and legal restrictions in place for firearm possession. For one, an applicant must be over the age of 21 or have written consent of their legal guardian. They also must not have been convicted of a felony, and cannot be addicted to narcotics. They cannot be intellectually disabled, nor have been a patient in a mental health facility within the past five years. There are many other miscellaneous requirements for obtaining an FOID, and you should review the relevant legal material before applying.
What are the penalties for illegal gun possession in Illinois?
Legal repercussions for illegal possession of a firearm in Illinois are determined by the type of gun and circumstances surrounding the offender’s FOID. Charges can range from a class A misdemeanor, punishable by less than one year’s imprisonment and a fine of up to $2,500, to a class 3 felony. A felony charge is handed down if the offender’s FOID has been revoked, or they never qualified for one in the first place.