What If I’m Caught Carrying an Illegal Firearm in Illinois?

Published: Aug 31, 2017, by admin in Legal Blog, Weapons

Illinois law is often considered to be among the most strict when it comes to purchasing and handling firearms, and prosecutors are known to pursue charges against people who have illegally used or possessed weapons. State laws regarding firearms are numerous, and it can be confusing if you are charged with one or several weapons offenses.

In order to properly defend yourself, you need an experienced Chicago weapons lawyer if you are caught carrying an illegal firearm in Illinois. Due to the strict punishments that often follow firearm charges, you should contact your defense lawyer as soon as possible after an arrest.

Contact us at O’Meara Law if you or a loved one need legal assistance after being charged with a firearm possession crime. Call us at 312-909-0706.

Illinois Firearm Possession Laws

Illinois residents must have a state issued Firearm Owner’s Identification (FOID) Card in order to own and possess a firearm in Illinois, and you must be carrying your card while handing a firearm outside of your home. The FOID card requirement does not apply to non-state residents who are in Illinois so long as they qualify for firearm possession in their home states. In order to qualify for a FOID card, you must meet the following requirements:

  • You cannot be a convicted felon
  • You cannot have been adjudicated as a mental defective
  • You cannot be an alien unlawfully present in the United States
  • You cannot have been dishonorably discharged from the Armed Forces
  • You cannot have been convicted of domestic battery, either felony or misdemeanor
  • You cannot be addicted to any drugs or narcotics in violation of state or federal law

Illinois became the last state to allow concealed carry of handguns in 2013. State laws on concealed carry are some of the most strict in the nation, and you must complete at least 16 hours of firearm training in order to be approved. Automatic weapons, open carry of firearms, and firearm silencers remain illegal in Illinois.

Punishment for Illegal Firearm Possession in Illinois

Being caught in illegal possession of a firearm in Illinois can result in various different charges being filed against you. You can face a felony if you are in possession of illegal types of firearms such as machine guns or guns with silencers, and you can face multiple additional felonies if you are in possession of a firearm while in the commission of a crime. A felon in possession of a banned firearm such as a machine gun can be charged with a class X felony which can put you in prison for up to 50 years.

If you are arrested for possessing a firearm without a FOID card, but you would qualify for a FOID card, you will be facing a class A misdemeanor. This charge can result in up to one year in jail and a fine of $2,500. However, if you would fail to qualify for a FOID card you can be charged with a class 3 felony which can be punishable by five years in prison and a fine of $25,000. Violating Illinois concealed carry law can result in a misdemeanor for a first offense and a class 3 felony for a subsequent offense. The state’s concealed carry law can be violated if you take a handgun into a restricted area, even if you are in possession of a concealed carry permit. Areas that are restricted for handguns include:

  • Schools
  • Hospitals
  • Public transportation facilities and vehicles
  • Government buildings
  • Bars and certain restaurants
  • Airports
  • Public parks, museums, and libraries

While it is legal to carry a firearm in your car, there are strict laws about how weapons are allowed to be transported. If you are in violation of any laws concerning a firearm in your possession while in your car, you can be charged with a class 4 felony that is punishable by up to three years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000. In order to legally have a firearm in your car, you must have a FOID card and transport it unloaded and in a case that completely encloses the firearm.

O’Meara Law LLC Can Help You

Illinois firearm laws are complex and can be very strict. You can be facing serious prison time and large fines if you have been charged with a gun violation. For this reason, it is important to seek a skilled and experienced criminal defense attorney if you have been arrested for illegal firearm possession.

Contact us at O’Meara Law LLC in order to speak with a Chicago weapons lawyer about your case. Call us today at 312-909-0706.