Gun laws in Illinois are among the toughest in the nation. On August 23, 2016, Gov. Bruce Rauner signed Illinois’ gun bill, HB 6303, that strengthens penalties for firearms trafficking throughout the state. The new gun law means harsher sentences for the person who buys guns illegally imported to Illinois and the person selling it.
If you have been charged with a gun crime in Illinois, you need to have the help of a criminal defense attorney who knows and understands the system. The experienced Illinois criminal attorneys at Wolfe and Stec can help you with any gun crime charges.
What Are the Gun Laws In Illinois?
Illinois law prohibits any person from:
- Knowingly purchasing or attempting to purchase a firearm with the intent to deliver it to a person prohibited from possessing one.
- Intentionally providing false or misleading information on a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives transaction record to purchase or attempt to purchase a firearm.
- Forging or materially altering a Firearm Owner’s Identification (“FOID”) card, as well as knowingly possessing a forged or altered FOID card with intent to use it to purchase firearms and ammunition.
- Knowingly or intentionally altering, changing, removing or obliterating the importer’s or manufacturer’s serial number on any firearm or possessing such a weapon.
- Delivering a firearm, while not being entitled to its possession, knowing it to have been stolen or converted.
How Do You Obtain a FOID Card?
In Illinois, you must obtain a handgun license, known as a Firearm Owner’s Identification (FOID) card to purchase and possess a gun. In 2013, Illinois became the last state to legalize possession and concealed carry of a firearm outside the home and enacted a law, 430 Ill. Comp. Stat. § 66/1 et seq., permitting people to carry concealed weapons with a license. In order to obtain a concealed carry license, you must have a (FOID) card or qualify for one and be in the process of applying for one.
To obtain a FOID card, you must submit an application to the state police department.
To qualify, you must be:
- at least 21 years old, or at least 18 with written parental consent,
- a U.S. citizen or legal resident, and
- eligible to obtain and possess a firearm under federal law.
You will not qualify if you are:
- a convicted felon,
- a minor convicted of certain misdemeanors, crimes that would be felonies if committed by an adult, or who has been adjudicated delinquent,
- addicted to controlled substances,
- “mentally impaired” or “intellectually disabled,”
- or have been committed to a mental hospital or adjudicated mentally defective within the last five years, or convicted of certain domestic or violent crimes.
Illinois does not recognize concealed carry licenses from other states. Even if you are licensed to carry concealed weapons, you still are prohibited from doing so while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
What Are Punishments for Gun Violations?
Gun violation punishments in Illinois are classified as follows:
- Class A misdemeanor: conviction results in less than 1 year in jail plus up to $2,500 in fines. This is for a minimal violation of legal gun possession.
- Class 4 felony: usually means a prison sentence of 1 to 3 years and up to $25,000 in fines. There is a minimum one year of parole after any prison term.
- Class 4 felonies are:
- carrying or possessing any firearm anywhere that is licensed to sell intoxicating beverages
- taking a firearm to a public or government place where admission is charged
- carrying or possessing a weapon in your vehicle or on your person while hiding your identity.
- Class 3 felony: 2 to 5 years in prison and up to $25,000 in fines and a minimum one year of parole.
- Class 3 felonies include:
- possessing a gun silencer
- selling, manufacturing, purchasing, possessing, or carrying certain explosives and guns such as long rifles or machine guns.
- Class 2 felony: possible 3- to 7-year prison term and a fine of $25,000. Minimum parole is 2 years.
- Class 3 could be raised to a Class 2 felony if you are a repeat offender or commit offenses at a school or public park.
- Class 1 felony: means 4 to 15 years in prison on top of up to $25,000 in fines and at least 2 years parole.
- Class X felony: There is no chance for getting probation if convicted of this. Sentencing is usually anywhere from 6 to 30 years in prison, up to $25,000 in fines, and a minimum parole of 3 years.
- Class 1 or Class X felony is for aggravated firearm discharge, including discharging at or into an occupied building or vehicle, or knowingly shooting at an official.
Places Where Concealed Gun Carry is Prohibited
The carrying of a concealed weapon is not permitted in these locations in Illinois:
- schools and child care facilities
- state property and local government buildings
- adult and juvenile detention centers, jails and prisons
- hospitals, mental health facilities, and nursing homes
- on public transportation
- public gatherings, such as festivals or fairs
- property licensed to sell alcohol
- any public playground, park, or forest preserve
- gaming facilities and horse tracks, stadiums, arenas, and sports facilities
- libraries, amusement parks, zoos, and museums
- nuclear power plants
- any place where firearms are prohibited by federal law.
(430 Ill. Comp. Stat. § 66/65.)
Remember that many gun or weapons offenses, especially those related to the commission of another crime while in possession of a gun, carry mandatory prison terms. Charges such as armed violence, armed robbery, aggravated vehicular hijacking, and home invasion carry increased penalties if a firearm was used.
The criminal defense lawyers at Wolfe & Stec, Ltd. are skilled trial lawyers who believe each case is unique with its own set of circumstances. We know the judges and the court system and will aggressively explore every avenue for your defense.
Don’t delay — contact us for a free consultation today if you have been accused of any gun charges. Call 630-305-0222 or 312-388-7882. Our Illinois gun crimes lawyers represent clients in DuPage County, Naperville, Aurora, Wheaton, Downers Grove and Bolingbrook, Illinois.