Unlawful Possession of a Firearm in Chicago

Updated on 08/11/2023 / Under

In Illinois, possessing certain objects could lead to an unlawful weapons charge. These include bludgeons, blackjacks, and slung shots. Slingshots that use rubber bands and stones are not included. These objects are deadly weapons meant for harm or intimidation, although some have alternative purposes.

Carrying firearms and firearm ammunition such as explosive bullets without authorization is also illegal in Illinois. It's important to follow state laws regarding weapons to avoid consequences.

If you're facing criminal penalties for unlawful possession of a firearm, we encourage you to contact Ktenas Law Firm's Chicago criminal defense attorneys for assistance at (312) 756-8652.

Overview of Chicago's Firearm Laws

Owning firearms in Illinois is subject to compliance with the state's regulations. A Firearm Owner's Identification (FOID) card must be obtained before owning a firearm, and a permit is needed for concealed firearms carry.

Alex Ktenas, Chicago gun charge defense lawyer

Breaking these laws by being found in actual possession by law enforcement officers could lead one to face automatic felony charges, hefty fines, and jail time. Penalties for possession can potentially impact the families of those involved, resulting in a loss of support.

Individuals accused of unlawful possession of firearms, in Illinois, should seek legal assistance from an experienced gun charge lawyer to avoid harsher penalties for criminal offenses.

Types of Unlawful Possession

The unlawful acquisition of firearms and carrying is a serious crime. Individuals who are not allowed to possess firearms can be charged with this firearm crime.

  • For example, persons under 18 cannot have a concealable firearm.
  • Individuals under 21 who were found guilty of a non-traffic offense misdemeanor or judged delinquent are also prohibited.
  • Narcotic addicts with misdemeanor drug offenses and those admitted to mental hospitals within the last 5 years cannot have firearms or ammunition.
a handcuff, legal documents, and a gavel on a desk

The consequences of unlawful possession are severe, such as hefty fines and lengthy prison sentences. Some states have additional criminal weapons charges for illegal handgun possession, such as being involved in gang-related activity or having illegal drug felony convictions.  Felons convicted of violent acts, such as aggravated battery, domestic battery, and sexual assault with firearms, may receive extended prison sentences.

Knowing firearm laws for concealed firearms and firearm ammunition in your state is necessary to avoid unknowingly violating them and facing serious consequences such as a mandatory prison sentence.

Carrying Without a FOID Card

Possessing a handgun without the proper permit, license, or certification is a felony offense with significant penalties. If an individual has an expired FOID card but is otherwise eligible for renewal, it is a Class A misdemeanor with up to one year in prison and/or a $2,500 fine. Without valid credentials, the offense is a Class 4 felony with a one to three years prison term and/or fines up to $25,000.

Understanding laws about illegal carrying of a firearm and its use is crucial for gun owners. Ignorance of the law is not a valid excuse in court. Knowing Illinois state laws can save considerable time and help avoid heavy fines when obtaining permits and licenses and prevent harsh penalties if accused of possession without proper credentials.

Having an Unregistered Firearm

In Chicago, it is illegal to possess an unregistered firearm. These illegal weapons include handguns and long guns, such as rifles and shotguns. Those caught with an unregistered firearm face a minimum of one year in prison and a potential fine of up to $25,000.

It is also illegal to carry a concealed weapon without a valid Firearm Owners Identification (FOID) card issued by the Illinois State Police. This applies to both handguns and long guns, and those caught with a concealed weapon can face up to five years in prison.

Possessing a loaded firearm in public or a vehicle without a valid FOID card is considered a felony gun charge and can result in up to three years of imprisonment and fines of up to $25,000.

Having an Illegally Modified Firearm

Illegal firearms are those that have been acquired, transferred, or possessed without following the laws and regulations of the city, state, or country. In particular, possession of a firearm in Chicago is highly restricted due to the city’s strict gun control laws. The unlawful possession or delivery of firearms in Chicago is considered a weapons crime which is punishable by fines, felony firearms convictions, and up to one year in prison.

To legally possess a firearm in Chicago, you must have a valid FOID card issued by the Illinois State Police. Additionally, all firearms must be registered with the Chicago Police Department. Failing to follow these laws can result in severe penalties including up to five years in prison and up to $25,000 in fines.

It is also important to note the different types of firearms that are prohibited in the city of Chicago. Automatic weapons, such as machine guns, tear gas gun projectors, and assault rifles, are types of guns that are illegal to possess without a valid license.

Similarly, it is also illegal to own or carry any type of sawed-off shotgun or rifle. Those caught with these weapons can face unlawful carry of firearm charges with up to five years in prison and fines of up to $25,000. 

Possession of a Weapon By a Felon

Under Illinois law, it is unlawful for any person who has been convicted of a felony to knowingly possess or carry on or about his or her person, any firearm, stun gun, taser, ballistic knife, pieces of glass, or another dangerous weapon. Furthermore, it is against the law for a felon to possess a weapon.

a man putting a gun in his waistband

If charged and convicted, a person can face up to three years in prison and fines of up to $25,000. Additionally, if the weapon is found to have been used in the commission of a crime, penalties may be increased significantly. Therefore those with felony convictions need to avoid possession of firearms or other weapons.

Transporting a Firearm in Chicago

In Chicago, it's illegal to transport firearms without a proper license or authorization. This applies to transportation between residences and gun-related activities like shooting ranges. Breaking this law can result in up to one year in prison and large fines.

To transport firearms legally within the city, a valid FOID card is required, and the firearm must be stored unloaded, and securely in the trunk of the vehicle. Transporting firearms across state lines is also prohibited without prior written permission from the Illinois State Police.

What Happens if You Are Convicted of Unlawful Possession of a Firearm?

The penalties for unlawful possession of a firearm in Chicago can vary depending on certain factors. Generally, an individual found to have a firearm without a valid Firearm Owners Identification card or another legal permit can face criminal charges. Depending on the specifics of the situation, such as any prior criminal record or whether or not the person was carrying a concealed weapon, the penalties can vary significantly.

In most cases, the penalty for unlawful possession of a firearm in Chicago is up to one year in prison and fines of up to $25,000. However, if the firearm is found to be used in the commission of a crime or if the individual has any prior criminal convictions, penalties may be increased significantly. Therefore it is important to understand and abide by the laws and regulations about the possession of firearms in Chicago.

How to Legally Store a Firearm in Chicago

To legally store a firearm in Chicago, all firearms must be stored unloaded, and securely locked away. Furthermore, it is illegal to keep any type of weapon within reach of those who are not authorized to possess the firearm. Failure to abide by these laws can result in penalties including fines of up to $25,000 and up to one year in prison. 

How an Attorney Can Help With Gun Charges

When facing criminal charges involving the unlawful possession of a firearm in Chicago, the assistance of an experienced attorney can be invaluable. A skilled firearm defense attorney from Ktenas Law can help protect your rights and work to obtain the most favorable outcome possible for your particular case.

The first step an experienced firearm defense attorney will take is to review the facts related to your case and ensure that all applicable laws were followed and all proper procedures were observed. An experienced attorney can assist with exploring defenses, negotiating plea agreements, and ensuring full protection of rights regarding firearms laws and regulations in Illinois.

For a positive outcome in your unlawful firearms possession case contact Ktenas Law today!