Three Assumptions About Gun Laws

Owning a gun is more dangerous than you think.

People who own guns often do so because they think it helps keep them safer and less vulnerable to crime, but this and other assumptions were challenged by several recent studies.

Assumption #1

Most Americans own a gun.  Actually, only a little more than one-fifth of Americans own guns, a percentage that has decreased over the last two decades.  While there are plenty of firearms owned by Americans, the fact is that around 3 percent of gun owners in the United States own over half of all our guns. These “super-owners,” own around 17 guns apiece.

Assumption #2

Most Americans are content with our gun laws. The idea that only a minority of Americans are willing to see changes in our current system was also challenged by a Gallup poll. The poll found that 62 percent of Americans were dissatisfied with our gun laws, up 11 percent from the year before.  Only one-third of Americans were satisfied with our gun laws.

Assumption #3

Owning a gun will make you less vulnerable to crime. Most gun owners cite self-defense as the number one reason that they own a firearm. Yet a Gallup poll conducted last year, shows that people who own guns are more likely to be crime victims than people who aren’t gun owners.

In addition, the fact is that if you do own a gun, you are much more likely to find yourself in a situation where you are charged with a gun crime, something that is taken very seriously in the state of Illinois.  If you are convicted of a crime that involves guns, both fines and jail terms are increased severely.

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 offer a free consultation and can help you with any gun crime charges.

What Are Gun Laws In Illinois?

Gun laws in Illinois regulate the sale, possession, and use of firearms and ammunition in the state. To legally possess firearms or ammunition, Illinois residents must have a Firearm Owners Identification (FOID) card, which is issued by the Illinois State Police to any qualified applicant. Non-residents who may legally possess firearms in their home state are exempt from this requirement. There are also licenses for the concealed carry of handguns to qualified applicants age 21 or older who pass a 16-hour training course.

In addition to state laws, the federal Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act and the National Firearms Act both apply to Illinois gun owners. Gun control laws prohibit the sale, use, or possession of certain weapons outright, including fully automatic machine guns, armor-piercing bullets, and silencers. For other weapons that are allowed, state law imposes a three-day (72-hour) waiting period for prospective gun buyers, who must meet certain criteria. Illinois gun control laws are also specific as to certain locations where firearms are more restricted, including schools, state property and local government buildings, adult and juvenile detention centers, jails and prisons, hospitals, mental health facilities, and nursing homes, and on public transportation.


Gun laws and penalties 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 to the person who buys guns illegally imported to Illinois and the person selling it.  For example, anyone without a gun-owner identification card who brings a gun into the state of Illinois to sell now faces felony charges that carry a prison sentence of four to 20 years, or up to 30 years for repeat offenders.

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 most severe gun crimes are for aggravated firearm discharge, including discharging at or into an occupied building or vehicle, or knowingly shooting at an official. These are considered to be Class 1 or Class X felonies. A Class 1 felony can mean 4 to 15 years in prison on top of up to $25,000 in fines and at least 2 years’ parole. For a Class X felony, there is no chance of probation, and sentences can be anywhere from 6 to 30 years in prison, up to $25,000 in fines, and a minimum parole of 3 years. (430 Ill. Comp. Stat. § 66/65.)

Put Your Trust In Us — Contact Wolfe & Stec, Ltd. for a Free Consultation.

Since federal and state laws involving guns are complicated and constantly changing, if you have been charged with a gun crime in Illinois, you need to hire the best criminal defense attorney that you can find.  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 examine the facts, the individuals involved, and the evidence available, and work hand in hand with our clients throughout the criminal process to craft an effective defense strategy. Our goal is always to minimize the negative impact of the situation and to focus on protecting your freedoms, liberties and rights.

We are aggressive litigators and will work with you to explain the law and make sure you fully understand the facts surrounding any gun crime or other criminal charges. We represent clients in DuPage County, Cook County, Will County, Naperville, Aurora, Wheaton, Downers Grove and Bolingbrook, and the greater Chicagoland area.

Delaying can only make your situation worse, so call 630-305-0222 today to schedule your free initial consultation.

Attorney Marc Wolfe

Marc Wolfe has been representing clients in criminal matters in Chicago and the entire State of Illinois for over 30 years. Mr. Wolfe has tried over 300 cases to verdict and represents clients facing investigation or prosecution for a broad range of state and federal criminal offenses, including murder, embezzlement, sexual abuse, drugs, marijuana and white collar crimes. [ Attorney Bio ]