How Can I Legally Own and Carry a Gun in Illinois?

St. Charles gun charges defense attorney

Illinois is known for having some of the strictest gun laws in the country. In order to legally purchase a firearm in Illinois, you must obtain a Firearms Owner’s Identification (FOID) card. Only those individuals who meet certain criteria will be issued a FOID card. Being caught in possession of a gun without a valid FOID card can result in significant criminal penalties. If you have been charged with a firearm-related crime, it is essential that you contact an experienced criminal defense attorney who can explain your legal options.

Who Is Eligible for a FOID Card?

In order to obtain a FOID card and be permitted to possess a firearm in Illinois, you must meet certain criteria. You must be over 21 years old or have parental consent, have a valid driver’s license or state identification card, and not be an unlawful resident of the United States. A person cannot be issued a FOID card if he or she:

  • Has previously been convicted of a felony offense

  • Has certain mental or intellectual disabilities or has been treated in a medical facility for mental illness within five years

  • Has used or been addicted to any controlled substance within the past year

  • Is currently the subject of an Order of Protection

  • Has been convicted of battery, assault, violation of an order of protection, or a similar offense involving possession of a firearm within the last five years

It is important to note that this list is not exhaustive, and there are several other issues that can make a person ineligible for a FOID card.

Concealed Carry Laws in Illinois

If you wish to carry a concealed firearm in public, you will need to obtain a concealed carry license (CCL). To be granted a CCL, you will need to complete 16 hours of authorized firearm safety training. It is explicitly against Illinois law to carry a firearm on public transportation, or in schools, hospitals, bars, and certain restaurants.

Weapons Charges in Illinois

If you meet the requirements for a FOID card but do not have one, being in possession of a firearm can result in Unlawful Use of Weapon (UUW) charges. UUW is normally charged as a class A misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $2,500. Certain circumstances, such as wearing a hood or mask while carrying a weapon or bringing a firearm into a school without a valid FOID or CCL, may lead to UUW being charged as a felony, which can be punished by multiple years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000.

Contact a St. Charles Gun Charges Defense Lawyer

In order to legally possess or purchase a gun in Illinois, you must have a valid FOID card. If you are caught with a firearm and do not have a FOID card, you may face a possible misdemeanor or felony conviction. For professional legal guidance regarding firearms and any weapon-related charges, contact the Law Office of Glenn M. Sowa, LLC. We are well-versed in Illinois gun laws, and we will work hard to make sure your rights are not violated. Call us today at 630-232-1780 for a free consultation with one of our skilled Illinois criminal defense attorneys.