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Kathryn L. Harry & Associates, P.C.
630-472-9700Available 24/7

Firearms Violations in Illinois

Posted on in Concealed Carry Law

 Illinois criminal lawyerIllinois is a state that is very concerned with the appropriate regulation of firearms, having been the last state to legalize concealed carry and often making revisions to the relevant laws to increase safety. Because of this, the penalties for even a first firearms offense can be extremely severe. If you are charged with a firearms violation, it is imperative that you understand the nature of the allegations against you so that you can react accordingly.

FOID Cards and Concealed Carry Licenses

An Illinois gun license is known as a Firearm Owner’s Identification (FOID) Card, and one must possess one in order to lawfully own a gun. To obtain one, a person must submit an application to the Illinois State Police and show that they meet the relevant criteria (or do not - for example, no one who has been convicted of certain crimes of violence or been found mentally incompetent within the preceding five years may hold a FOID card). It is important to keep in mind that a FOID card is not the same as a concealed carry license, though it is a prerequisite to obtaining one. In other words, the mere possession of a FOID card does not allow you to concealed carry in Illinois.

A concealed carry license does, as one might imagine, allow you to carry a concealed firearm. However, there are still areas in which it is prohibited to carry a weapon, even with that license - examples include any building controlled by a school, governmental entity or healthcare facility, such as a hospital or nursing home. While concealed carry is the law, it is generally held that to allow weapons in such places is bad public policy - it would arguably put vulnerable occupants in more danger than banning such weapons would.

Penalties Can Be Severe

Firearms charges can be either misdemeanors or felonies, though the most common are misdemeanors. Possessing a weapon while not holding a valid FOID card is perhaps the most often seen, but it is important to keep in mind that whether or not one is eligible to get one in the first place can factor into the severity of the charge. If you are eligible to get a FOID card and have not done so, but still possess a firearm, it will likely be a class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail, $2,500 in fines, or possibly both. If you are not eligible to have a FOID card but own a weapon anyway, this is a felony under Illinois law, and the penalty can be up to five years in prison, as well as a heavy fine.

One of the most serious weapons charges is for a felon possessing a firearm, as anyone convicted of a felony in Illinois forfeits the right to own such items. What many do not realize, however, is that such a charge usually winds up being for unlawful use, even if you may never have discharged the weapon, and it can send a person back to prison if you are not careful. If you are in this position, it is imperative to find an experienced attorney who understands what your options are, to have the best chance to avoid a return engagement in prison.

Call Our DuPage County Weapons Charges Attorneys

Because the law is so strict in Illinois, many who do not fully understand what they have done may wind up facing weapons charges. If this is you, consulting a knowledgeable DuPage County criminal law attorney can make all the difference. Kathryn L. Harry & Associates, P.C. may be able to assist you in getting your questions and concerns dealt with. Call our DuPage County offices today to set up an initial consultation.

 

Sources:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=043000650K8

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs3.asp?ActID=1657&ChapterID=39

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