What is Unlawful Possession of a Firearm in Illinois?

Updated on July 5, 2022
Updated: January 8, 2023

While most Americans know that the United States Bill of Rights gives U.S. Citizens the right to own firearms, what some citizens don't know is that each state has its own laws and regulations when it comes to owning or possessing a firearm. Firearm laws can be confusing, especially since each state bans different weapons and accessories on top of the federal laws that apply in all states. You may find yourself arrested in Illinois for something that is legal in Indiana or Wisconsin. There are also serious effects to weapons charges, it is imperative that you take these charges seriously, even if you are facing simple possession charges. 

If you are facing unlawful possession of a firearm, it's time to get a criminal defense lawyer on your side. The experienced Orland Park criminal defense lawyers at Tommalieh Law have the years of combined experience and knowledge needed to help you fight the gun charges against you. 

What is Unlawful Possession of a Firearm?

There are several ways to unlawfully come into possession of a firearm. Crime, for example, can prohibit you from owning a firearm because of federal laws in place. Most persons convicted of violent crimes, such as domestic violence charges or assault with a deadly weapon, will have their right to own a firearm taken from them.

If you are under the minimum age to own a firearm, 18 years old in Illinois, then you can also be charged with illegal possession of a firearm. You can also be barred from owning or possessing a firearm if you have documented and ongoing mental health issues that may make you a danger to yourself, or others. 

You can also be charged with unlawful possession of a firearm if you are able to own or possess a firearm, but come across the firearm illegally. This can be done through a straw purchase, in which another person physically buys the firearm with your money and the intention to give the firearm to you. Straw purchases are often made involving people who are unable to buy their own firearms because of their criminal record.

Still, sometimes straw purchases can be performed by persons who simply do not want their firearm traced back to them on paper. Firearm laws also prohibit persons from owning stolen weapons, whether they stole them themselves or bought them from the person who stole them. 

In Illinois, firearm laws require citizens to apply for and obtain a Firearm Owners Identification card (FOID) before their first firearm purchase, though individual firearms do not have to be registered. If you are in possession of a firearm without a FOID then you are committing illegal firearm possession. For a concealed firearm, Illinois citizens must also have a concealable firearm carry license. 

Man holding a gun, Unlawful Possession of a Firearm

Lastly, if you are in possession of firearms banned in the state, such as a machine gun, or any illegal piece of ammunition in violation of the law, such as an explosive bullet, it is also a criminal offense. 

Penalties for Unlawful Possession of a Firearm

In Illinois, unlawful possession of a firearm is considered a Class A misdemeanor. Each firearm found in your possession is a separate violation. Possession of firearm ammunition in addition to illegal firearms also carries criminal charges. Possession of an illegal firearm is often joined together with a myriad of various charges, as most gun laws are entangled together. You can also be charged with anything from unlawful discharge to illegal activity with firearms, depending on the circumstances of your case. 

As a general rule, if you are charged with only basic Unlawful possession of a firearm, you can expect to face a class A misdemeanor, up to 1 year in jail, 2 years of probation, and around $2500 in fines. The more complex and serious your case gets, the worse the consequences. These charges can go all the way up to a Class 4 Felony, which comes with a minimum of 1 year and a maximum of 3 years of jail time, 30 months of probation, and thousands in fines. 

Can You Beat an Unlawful Possession of a Weapon Charge?

Weapons-related charges can affect you for the rest of your life. Many persons with weapons charges have been given lifetime bans from owning firearms. And more than that, these penalties go beyond fines and time served. Once on your criminal record, these charges come up whenever you submit to a background check. They can affect job offers, cause issues when applying for any kind of social benefits such as SNAP or welfare, and even cause revocation of visas and possible deportation if you are a US immigrant. 

Because of the possible additional, life-long consequences, it's important to fight weapons-related charges with a strong defense, right out of the gate. Your first step to a strong and effective defense is having an experienced criminal defense attorney. With an attorney on your side you can fight for plea deals, a lessened sentence, or to have your charges dropped against you. 

Today Is The Day

If you are facing illegal firearm possession charges, or any other weapons charges, in Illinois, call the experienced criminal defense lawyers are Tommalieh Law today. If you are facing a felony conviction, it's important to have a passionate and talented team on your side, to help you build the perfect defense for your case. We know that all of our clients deserve another chance, and shouldn't have to live the rest of their lives paying for a single mistake. Message us today to set up a free consultation, and let us help you build the perfect defense for you and your case. 

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