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Unlawful Use of Firearms in Illinois

On Behalf of | Jun 29, 2020 | Criminal Defense |

The Chicago Tribune reported a sharp spike in gun sales this month. Permit applications have increased by 501%. Between June 1 and June 17, more than 42,000 Illinois residents submitted a Firearms Owners Identification (FOID) card application. A person in possession of a firearm without a permit could face criminal unlawful use of firearms charges. There are many additional circumstances that could lead to an arrest when it comes to carrying and owning a gun. If you or someone you know is facing a firearm violation or gun charge, contact us immediately.

Lawful gun ownership
Illinois residents over the age of 21 can apply for a FOID card, which allows them to purchase a firearm. After purchasing a gun, the buyer must wait 72 hours before they can take possession of it. Concealed carry licenses (CCW) are issued by the Illinois State Police. Again, residents must be at least 21 years of age. They also must complete 16 hours of training.

Any pending or previous criminal charges will likely make an applicant ineligible for CCW licenses or FOID cards. On the flip side, having a gun in your possession without an FOID card or CCW license will result in criminal charges.

Unlawful possession of firearms and ammunition
According to 720 ILCS 5/24-3.1, unlawful possession of a firearm and ammunition could result in a Class A Misdemeanor or a Class 4 Felony. The Class 4 Felony charges apply to handguns specifically. It’s important to remember that a separate charge will apply to each firearm infraction.

The misdemeanor charge applies to other firearms, like rifles or shotguns. If you are 18 years or younger, it’s illegal to own or be in possession of a gun small enough to conceal. If you are under 21 and have a previous misdemeanor conviction, it’s illegal to own or be in possession of guns or bullets. People who have spent time in a mental health facility, are addicted to narcotics, or have an intellectual disability are also not allowed to own or carry firearms.

Unlawful use of weapons
Illinois Criminal Statute 720 5/24-1 outlines many additional offenses that deal with firearms and weapons. A few of these include:

  • Having a gun in your vehicle without a lawful permit or gun license
  • Owning a silencer or any attachment that can be used to silence a firearm
  • Owning or building a machine gun
  • Owning the parts required to build a machine gun, even if it’s not assembled
  • Owning parts that could turn a firearm into a machine gun
  • Having or using a rifle with barrels less than 16 inches
  • Having or using a shotgun with barrels less than 18 inches
  • Building or using explosive bullets

These charges range from Class 2 to Class 4 Felonies, which could result in anywhere between one and seven years in prison, along with thousands of dollars in fines.

Navigating charges
Two Elgin men were recently arrested and are facing felony charges for unlawful firearm possession, violating a bail bond, and driving with an expired license. One of the men could serve anywhere between six and 30 years. That’s a pretty wide range.

More often than not, no matter the offense, charges and sentencing increase if the offender has a previous criminal record. Criminal defense lawyers help defendants navigate charges and interpret their options in these situations.

If you or someone you know has been arrested for gun violations, unlawful use of a firearm, or any related charge, contact Richard at Fenbert & Associates for a free consultation.