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