In order to help prevent gun violence, Illinois state requires any resident who wishes to own a gun or ammunition to obtain a Firearm Owners Identification Card (FOID card). These cards are issued to qualified applicants by the Illinois State Police. There are several exceptions to this requirement, including certain exceptions for members of the Armed Forces and Federal Officials. Illegally owning a firearm, or owning one without a FOID card is violation of state law and can carry significant penalties.
Consequences for Illegal Gun and Ammunition Possession
Penalties for illegal firearm possession vary significantly depending on the circumstances. Owning a gun without the proper documentation may be considered only a Petty Offense in some situations and a felony in other situations. For example, if an individual owns a firearm but his or her Firearm Owner’s Identification Card has been expired for 6 months or less and he or she is not otherwise disqualified from owning firearms, this is only a petty offense. If an individual owns a firearm without a FOID card, but meets the eligibility requirements for a FOID card, he or she will likely be charged with a Class A misdemeanor. However, if he or she receives a second or subsequent violation of the FOID card requirement, this charge is increased to is a Class 4 Felony.
Unlawful Use of a Weapon in Illinois
In some cases, even an individual with a valid FOID card can be charged with unlawful use of a weapon in Illinois. For example, when FOID cardholders are transporting firearms, they must do so in the proper manner. Gun owners transporting firearms must have them in a non-functioning or broken down state. The guns should also be unloaded, enclosed in a case, and not immediately accessible. In order to carry a loaded firearm in the state of Illinois, the owner must hold a concealed carry license. Most unlawful use of a weapon charges are felonies, although in some circumstances, this violation is only a misdemeanor. The severity of penalties faced by those convicted of this crime depends on where the violation takes place and the offender’s criminal history. For example, gun law violations that take place in a public park or school will likely be considered more grievous and carry harsher sentences than other violations.
Contact a Will County Criminal Defense Attorney
If you have been charged with a firearm-related crime in Illinois, you may be facing jail time. To speak with an experienced and capable weapons crimes lawyer in Joliet, Illinois, call The Law Offices of Jack L. Zaremba, P.C. at 815-740-4025 for a free consultation.