Illinois Gun Control Laws: An Overview
Illinois gun control laws try to balance public safety and personal freedoms. In this post, we’ll detail what the Illinois gun control laws allow and limit, and what to do if you are facing weapons charges in Illinois.
What Illinois Gun Control Laws Regulate
To legally purchase or possess a firearm in Illinois, you must be at least 18 years old for a concealed weapon permit or at least 21 years old if convicted of a misdemeanor other than a traffic offense or certain delinquent crimes.
Illinois requires that individuals seeking to purchase or possess firearms and ammunition must obtain a 10-year license, called a Firearm Owner’s Identification Card.
Individuals must undergo extensive background checks and adhere to a 24-hour waiting period before purchasing a long gun, or a 72-hour waiting period before purchasing a handgun.
Those who are prohibited from purchasing, possessing, or using firearms include convicted felons, those who have been mental hospital patients in the past five years, those who are mentally retarded, individuals addicted to narcotics, or anyone confined in a penal institution.
The possession, use, and sale of certain weapons are restricted in Illinois, including silencers, armor-piercing bullets, and fully automatic machine guns. Other illegal items include short-barrel rifles and shotguns, Tasers, and stun guns.
The use of firearms in certain locations, such as schools, is heavily restricted in Illinois – as in most states. The possession of a firearm on or near school grounds is a Class 2 felony with penalties of up to seven years in prison for a conviction.
Penalties for Unlawful Use of Weapons in Illinois
According to the Illinois statutes, an individual can face penalties for unlawful use of a weapon under the following circumstances:
- Unlawful possession under the restricted ages
- No valid Firearm Owner’s Identification Card
- Readily available loaded weapon in your vehicle
- Readily available unloaded weapon with ammunition in your vehicle
- Possession of weapon during misdemeanor drug offenses
- Possession of weapon during violent crimes, such as domestic violence
- Possession of weapon while subject to a protective order
- Possession of weapon along with gang-related activity
Even if you have a valid identification card, you cannot have a readily accessible weapon in your vehicle. It must be enclosed in a lockbox for transportation and left in a not-easily-accessible location, such as a trunk or glove compartment.
If you face unlawful use of a weapon charges, you will most likely face a felony charge. Felony charges come with prison sentences and high fines.
A Class 4 felony charge applies to weapons possession while masked, hooded, or robed, or in an establishment that sells alcohol.
A Class 3 felony charge applies to weapons possession in a school district or certain public places, or possession of a sawed-off shotgun, explosive device, or silencer.
A Class 2 felony charge applies to knowingly carrying or possessing a machine gun. If the machine gun is loaded, a Class X felony charge applies.
Legal Assistance for Weapons Charges in Illinois
If you are facing weapons charges, you need the help of an experienced Illinois criminal defense attorney. Penalties for unlawful use of a weapon are harsh, and a skilled lawyer will know which defense strategies are best to use in your specific situation.
Call today for a free case review. If we decide to work together, we will work hard to protect your freedoms and push to get your charges reduced or dropped.
About the Author:
Andrew M. Weisberg is a former felony prosecutor who now serves as a defense attorney in the greater Chicago area. He has extensive experience in handling all types of criminal cases, from sex offenses and domestic violence to retail theft-related crimes, murder, and drug crimes.