If you enjoy hunting or target shooting or even just carrying a pocket knife, Illinois can be a tricky place to live, particularly if you live in or near the city of Chicago. Even the most well-intentioned citizens—including Illinois’ 2.1 million FOID card holders—can find it hard to stay current and compliant with all of the state and local firearms and weapons regulations. To help you avoid running afoul of the law in 2018, here are a few reminders for Illinois weapons owners.
1. Make sure your FOID card is in your wallet and has not expired. Illinois residents need a current Firearm Owners ID card in order to purchase all types of guns and ammunition, and most shooting ranges require it as well. Possession of a firearm with a FOID card that has been expired for less than six months is considered a petty offense, assuming the individual still meets all of the eligibility requirements. If, however, the FOID card has been expired for longer than six months, the individual can be charged with a Class A misdemeanor, the penalty for which can be a fine of up to $2,500, probation for up to two years, or imprisonment for up to one year. It only costs $10 to renew your FOID card, so do not get caught short. If you also hold a Concealed Carry License (CCL), you do not have to worry about renewals for at least another year, as these licenses are good for five years and have only been available since 2014.
2. Update your knowledge of your local ordinances. Particularly if you have moved recently, make sure you are in compliance with the firearms ordinances of the municipality in which you now reside. These are available, as required by law, on the Illinois State Police website.
3. Be aware of knife carrying laws as well. In August 2017, it became legal in Illinois for FOID card holders to possess and carry switchblade knives. However, this state law does NOT preempt or override local ordinances; individual cities may enforce their own stricter rules. For example, the city of Chicago forbids the personal carry of any knife (switchblade or not) with a blade more than two inches in length.
4. Manage firearms transfers and losses correctly. Many firearms owners are still unfamiliar with two key provisions in the Illinois Gun Safety and Responsibility Act that took effect in January 2014. This law addresses the issue of private transfers of firearms between individuals who are not federally licensed firearms dealers, requiring the seller to verify the buyer’s FOID card number with the Illinois State Police and receive a transfer approval number prior to making the transfer. This law also requires gun owners to report the loss or theft of any firearm to local law enforcement within 72 hours of discovering the loss.
A Will County Attorney to Protect Your Second Amendment Rights
If you need help navigating concealed carry or other firearms laws in Illinois, or if you have been charged with a weapons-related violation, you need a lawyer who understands all of the applicable state and local laws. Retain the services of an experienced Joliet gun and weapons charges defense attorney to ensure your rights are protected. As soon as you become aware that the police wish to speak to you regarding a weapons-related incident, speak to a lawyer BEFORE speaking to the police. Contact the Law Offices of Jack L. Zaremba at 815-740-4025 for a free and confidential consultation with an attorney who has years of experience with these types of situations.