Can a Convicted Felon Own a Gun in IL?

If you’ve served your time and feel a need to own a firearm, you may wonder, can a convicted felon own a gun legally in Illinois? With rare exceptions, probably not, even if the conviction is in another state or federal court. Gun ownership is a right that most of us may not even think about, but a felony conviction can strip it away.

Wolfe & Stec represents those charged with felony crimes. A conviction may carry many consequences, including job loss, decreased income, and time in prison. A criminal defense lawyer will vigorously defend you to protect your rights and minimize the impact of your arrest. Call Wolfe & Stec at 630-305-0222 today if you or a loved one has a felony record and you want to know the legal restrictions that apply.

Can a Convicted Felon Own a Gun Without a State-Issued Firearms ID Card? No.

You May Be Barred From Legal Gun Ownership Because of Your Record

To legally own a firearm in Illinois, like everyone else you need a Firearm Owners Identification (FOID) card issued by the state police. The card licenses you, not the gun, which isn’t licensed or registered. You apply to the state police, and if their investigation turns up a felony conviction, you probably won’t get the card.

Depending on the conviction, you may be able to appeal the rejection. Some felonies result in automatic denial unless you receive clemency (or a pardon) for your conviction. If you petition the Governor for clemency and it’s granted, you’ll get a “pardon letter,” which you should attach to your FOID application.

According to the state police, a FOID card application will be rejected if:

  1. You’re younger than 21 years old, and you . . .
    • Were convicted of a misdemeanor not a traffic offense or are adjudged delinquent
    • Are subject to a petition claiming that you’re a delinquent minor due to committing an offense that if committed by an adult would be a felony.
  2. You’re older than 21 years old, and you . . .
  • Were convicted of a felony under Illinois laws or those of another jurisdiction
  • Were convicted during the past five years of assault, aggravated assault, battery, violating a protection order, or a substantially similar crime in another state where a firearm was used or possessed
  • Were convicted of domestic battery, aggravated domestic battery, or a substantially similar offense in another state
  • Are prohibited from obtaining or possessing firearms or ammunition under any state or federal law
  • Were adjudicated a delinquent minor under the state’s Juvenile Court Act of 1987 for committing a crime that, if an adult were involved, would be a felony
  • Are subject to an Order of Protection prohibiting you from having guns.

What Can You Do If Your Application Is Denied?

You May Have Grounds to Appeal

If the application is denied, you’ll get a letter from the state police explaining the appeals process. A Wolfe & Stec criminal defense lawyer can help you with an appeal. We can discuss your chances of success and the best way to approach the process.

The Director of the Illinois State Police handles some denials. If the denial is upheld, there may be grounds to appeal the decision to Circuit Court. Denials based on serious felonies can be appealed directly to state court.

Your application shouldn’t be denied if your civil rights are restored through clemency after serving your sentence. If it is denied, the following would be considered at an appeal:

  • You haven’t committed a forcible felony in the last 20 years.
  • You’re unlikely to endanger public safety.
  • Granting your request wouldn’t be against the public interest.

What are the Consequences for a Felon Arrested for Possessing a Firearm?

Depending on the Facts of the Case, You May Face Years to Decades in Prison.

If you have a felony conviction and decided not to apply for a FOID or were rejected but chose to have a firearm anyway, if found with it, you can be arrested and face criminal charges. Under Illinois law:

“It is unlawful for a person to knowingly possess on or about his person or on his land or in his own abode or fixed place of business…any firearm or any firearm ammunition if the person has been convicted of a felony under the laws of this State or any other jurisdiction.”

Depending on the circumstances and the number of past convictions, the sentence can range from two to 50 years. The possession of each firearm or piece of ammunition in violation of the law is a separate violation. Given these severe consequences, if you face these charges, get help from a Wolfe & Stec criminal defense lawyer.

Which Weapons Require a FOID?

A Weapon Could Be Potentially Deadly But Still Be Legally Owned by a Felon

Some firearms-like weapons don’t require a FOID, so a felon can legally possess them, while others require one.

  • Can a convicted felon own a taser? No, a FOID is needed.
  • Can a convicted felon own a crossbow? Yes, it doesn’t fall under the FOID requirements.
  • Can a convicted felon own an air rifle? That depends on the air rifle. Yes, if the projectile is not bigger than .18 of an inch in diameter or the rifle has a maximum muzzle velocity of less than 700 feet per second.

Contact Wolfe & Stec, Ltd. For Help With Weapons Charges

If you’ve been convicted of a felony in the past and are charged with weapons possession in Illinois, you need legal assistance. The Illinois criminal defense lawyers at Wolfe & Stec are skilled trial lawyers who understand that each case and client are unique.

After a thorough investigation, we may find effective defenses that may enable you to put the matter behind you. We know the judges and the area’s court system and will aggressively explore every avenue for your defense.

Don’t delay. Contact us online or call us at 630-305-0222 today for a free consultation. Our Illinois weapons violation lawyers represent clients in DuPage County, Naperville, Aurora, Wheaton, Downers Grove, and Bolingbrook, Illinois.